by Eva Dean Follkert
One individual win, one relay win, and deep finishes in three other events helped put the Hope College women's swimming and diving team in solid second place at the 2020 MIAA Championships held at Calvin University's Venema Aquatic Center.
After the second night of competition on Thursday, the Flying Dutch have 315 points while Calvin leads the championships with a score of 345 points. Albion College is in third with 275, Kalamazoo is fourth with 210, Olivet College is fifth with 115, and Alma College is sixth with 101.
"The women competed really well tonight,' said head coach Jake Taber. "There was an awful lot of fight in them whether they were ahead or trailing. I was really proud of the grit and competitive spirit that they had. They did a good job of making the most of their swims."
Junior Emma Schaefer of DeWitt (Saint Johns HS), pictured, set a school record while garnering her second MIAA title in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:05.29, shaving off over a half second from the old school record (2:06.58) that she recorded last December. Schaefer also earned an NCAA B-cut time with this year's effort.
Four more Flying Dutch swimmers earned team points in the 200 individual medley: Senior Paula Nolte of Elmhurst, Illinois (York Community HS) took fifth place (2:12.08); freshman Alyssa Kerkman of South Bend, Indiana (Saint Joseph HS) was 10th (2:12. 63); freshman Macey Mayer of San Antonio, Texas (Johnson HS) was 14th (2:16.94); and, freshman Avery Covert of South Lyon (South Lyon HS) was 16th (2:19.56).
Also taking a top podium spot for Hope was the 400 medley relay team of senior Erin Emmert of Grand Blanc (Power Catholic HS), Schaefer, freshman Jenna Kloosterman of Hamilton (Hamilton HS), and freshman Emily Kurt of South Lyon (South Lyon HS) who all clocked a first place time of 3:52.76
In the 500 freestyle, team depth was once again on display as five more Hope swimmers earned finals and consolation points. Sophomore Abigail LaDuke of Holland (West Ottawa HS) led Hope in the event with a second-place finish with a time of 5:11.27. Freshman Tarah Lang of Marshall (Marshall HS) finished in fourth place (5:15.51), sophomore Emma Engle of Kalamazoo (Home School) claimed fifth (5:15.79); sophomore Paige Kuhn of Dorr (Hamilton HS) took eighth (5:17.99); and senior Alison Sobkowski of Portage, Indiana (Portage HS) was 12th (5:20.67).
On the 3-meter board, three divers placed in the finals: Freshman Olivia Robertson of Sturgis (Sturgis HS) was fifth with 329.75 points, senior Areal Tolsma of Holland (Holland Christian HS) took sixth with 318.40 points; and freshman Allie Graver of Grosse Ile (Grosse Il HS) claimed seventh with 281.85 points.
Other finals heat finishers on Thursday were:
- Kurt who finished fourth in the 50 free with a time of 24.39; and,
- The 200 free relay team of Kloosterman, Kurt, freshman Sydney Randall of Byron Center (Byron Center HS), and Lang who took fourth in a time of 1:37.89
In relay consolation heats:
- Covert, Nolte, Engle and senior Erica Slenk of Zeeland (Holland Christian HS) finished 11th with a time of 1:41.30 in the 200 freestyle; and,
- Junior Hope Reynolds of Exon, Pennsylvania (Villa Maria Academy), Covert, Kerkman, and Lang claimed 10th in 3:58.30 in the 400 medley.
The 2020 MIAA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships continue at Calvin on Friday with prelims at 10:00 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.