by Alan Babbitt
Five Hope College swimmers have claimed All-America honors from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America: Gabe Boonstra, Daniel Clyde, Daniel Keith, Emma Schaefer and Bailey Smith.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic that canceled sports seasons across the country, NCAA Division III individuals and relays selected to the national championships received CSCAA All-American distinction this season.
In his final season, Clyde won two events at the conference meet. The senior from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Huron HS) finished first in the 200-yard butterfly and the 200 individual medley en route to claiming All-MIAA honors in consecutive seasons.
Clyde also joined Boonstra, Keith and Smith in breaking a 27-year-old school record while winning the 800 freestyle relay. The relay also qualified for the nationals with the 14th-fastest time in Division III at 6 minutes, 42.17 seconds.
Keith swam on two MIAA championship relays for Hope. The junior from Saline, Michigan (Saline) is a two-time, All-MIAA honoree.
In addition to swimming on two title-earning relays, Boonstra also won an individual event. The freshman from Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) took first in the 200 freestyle.
Smith, a freshman from Battle Creek, Michigan (Lakeview), claimed an MIAA title in the 1,650 freestyle.
Schaefer is the MIAA's Most Valuable Swimmer. The junior from DeWitt, Michigan (St. Johns) was league champion in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley as well as the 400 medley and 800 freestyle relays.
Schaefer finished with the nation's 20th fastest time in the 200 individual medley at 2:05.29.
"Despite the cancellation of the NCAA Championships, Coach Jake Taber did a remarkable job this season," said Greg Earhart, Executive Director of the CSCAA. "These five student-athletes had the rug pulled out from them this season, so we are excited to recognize them."
This isn't the first time the CSCAA adjusted All-America criteria. The first CSCAA All-America team was published in 1924, 13 years before the first men's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship. The first women's All-America team was published in 1975, seven years prior to the first NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championship. During much of that time, the team was selected by a panel of coaches.
In 1985, the honor was standardized around the NCAA Championships with the top eight finalists receiving first-team recognition and consolation finalists being named Honorable Mention.