2008-09 Men’s Swimming and Diving Outlook
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Calvin men’s swimming and diving team returns eight letterwinners from a team that finished in fourth place in the 2008 MIAA standings. The eight returners will mesh with eight first-year swimmers.
The roster of 16 will be part of the first Calvin men’s swimming and diving team to train and compete inside the state-of-the-art Venema Aquatic Center which is set to open in late January. The facility will include the capability of converting to a 50-meter pool, making the facility the only one of its kind in West Michigan.
“Obviously we are eagerly looking forward to the new facility,” said Calvin head swim coach Dan Gelderloos. “We’ve been joking that once we move in for the first time, we might not leave for a month because of how wonderful it will be. It will really be a spectacular aquatics facility that will benefit the entire Calvin College campus.”
Returning letterwinners include seniors Matt Bolles (Holland/West Ottawa HS), Evan Chong (Gotha, FL/Olympia HS), Keith Conrad (Wheaton, IL/Wheaton North HS), Dennis Steenbergen (Aylmer, ON/London District Christian HS), juniors Brad Groenewold (Villa Park, IL/Timothy Christian HS), Jon Herrema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and Kurt VanAllsburg (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and sophomore Tyler Westman (Naperville, IL/Naperville North HS).
Conrad is Calvin’s top returning letterwinner as he was a top-six finisher in the 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly at the 2008 MIAA Championships. A versatile swimmer, Conrad took third in the 1650 freestyle at the 2007 MIAA Championships.
Bolles will compete in the freestyle and butterfly while Chong specializes in the backstroke and freestyle. Steenbergen will serve as Calvin’s lone diver this season while Groenewold and VanAllsburg will fill out Calvin’s freestyle sprints lineup. VanAllsburg is Calvin’s top returning backstroker while Westman will specialize in the backstroke and IM events.
“Our upperclassmen will a key to our success,” said Gelderloos before the season. “We have good leadership with our returning letterwinners and I think they will all contribute to our team this year.”
The freshmen class includes Ross Battoclette (Cincinnati, OH/Clark Montessori), Greg Gorham (Minneapolis, MN/Richfield HS), Luke Griffioen (Williamsburg, VA/Jamestown HS), Anthony Julius (Grand Rapids/Forest Hills Northern HS), Chris Shepperly (East Leroy/Harper Creek HS), Derek Stek (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS), Trent Stensrud (Eden Prairie, MN/Minnetonka HS) and Ethan Tatum (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS).
“I really like our freshmen class,” said Gelderloos. “It is not only talented, but also very driven. As we move into our new facility, this freshmen group will be an important building block for the future.”
Calvin will open its season on October 31 with a non-conference dual meet at Grand Valley State. The Knights will then host Albion the following afternoon at East Grand Rapids High School. In addition to its MIAA dual meet schedule, the Knights will also face Wheaton, Grand Valley State, Wayne State and Denison in non-conference dual meets. Calvin will also compete at the Eastern Michigan Invitational and University of Chicago Invitational. The MIAA Championships will be held at Notre Dame February 19-21 with Saint Mary’s serving as host.
“Our goal at the conference meet is to get as many people on our team to score as possible,” said Gelderloos. “We have a number of capable individuals and I think they will step up as we near the conference meet.”
The NCAA III Championships will be held March 19-21 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The national meet will include a new twist as the men’s and women’s competition will be held simultaneously at the same site.
“I’m a proponent of the change,” said Gelderloos of the new national meet format. “In the past, we’ve had to worry about shuttling athletes and coaches back and forth on two separate weekends. I think this format will streamline the national championship meet and benefit everyone involved.”