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Senior leader makes waves
By Derek Neice | Women's Swimming and Diving

This past February, the women of Calvin’s swimming and diving team won their 7th straight MIAA conference title.

Taking part in each of the last four of those championship wins was senior Monica Bressler, a senior from Sandusky, Ohio, and graduate of Perkins High School.

Calvin was a logical college choice for Bressler, who wanted to attend a Christian school that also had a strong swim program.

“There aren’t a whole lot of Christian colleges with a really good swimming program,” Bressler said. “My coach in high school heard about the program here and how close-knit the team was, so that swayed my opinion a lot about picking Calvin.”

In the pool, Bressler is a three-time All-MIAA selection and a five-time individual event champion at the MIAA conference meet. In 2010, she won titles in the in the 50 free, 100 back, and 200 back, and this past February she defended her titles in the 100 and 200 back.

Bressler also qualified for the NCAA III Championships in 2009 and 2010 as a part of different Calvin relays. In 2009 she swam on two All-American relays, the 200-free relay and 400-medley relay; both placed eighth overall. Also that year she was part of the 200- medley relay which placed 10th, winning All-America honorable mention. In 2010, Bressler again won a couple of All-America honorable mention awards as a part of two more relays, placing 12th in the 200 medley relay and 16th in the 400 medley relay.

With those finishes, the Calvin women finished 7th overall in 2009 in the country, and 24th in 2010. Bressler was also named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American on the third team in the women’s college at-large division as selected by the College Sports Information Director’s Association of America.

“Being a college athlete and going the extra mile about educating yourself about the sport and also becoming an expert in your individual strokes and knowing your own strengths has helped a lot to improve,” Bressler said. “I was really surprised the last couple years of how much I improved, and I wasn’t expecting to do this well so it’s been a lot of fun.”

This past season, Bressler battled through a number of minor injuries but still managed to come out strong in defending her backstroke titles.

“This senior year has been really special because it’s my last year, and I have a good understanding of my body and how I needed to train,” Bressler said. “When you’ve been training for as long as the seniors on our team have, you get a feel of what you need to do, which lets you start to focus less on yourself and more on your teammates and helping the underclassmen.”

“I think that helps a lot with your own success, too, letting you know yourself as a swimmer more,” Bressler continued.

An accounting major with a 3.79 grade point average, Bressler is not entirely sure what she will do once she graduates this spring.

“I will take the CPA exam [Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam] and pass that as soon as possible,” Bressler said of her near future. “I’ll look for a job or maybe go to graduate school, but the CPA exam is the first thing on the list.”