2008-09 Women’s Swimming and Diving Outlook
Thursday, November 06, 2008
The Calvin women’s swimming and diving team will head into the 2008-09 season as the four-time defending MIAA champions. Whether or not the Knights can make it five in a row remains to be seen.
The Knights do have 23 letterwinners returning however including four individuals who were named to the 2008 All-MIAA team in seniors Cara VanWoerkom and Erica Deur and juniors Maggie Vail and Emily Roberts. VanWoerkom is the defending MIAA champion in the 50 freestyle, Vail the defending league champ in the 200 breaststroke and Roberts the defending MIAA champion in the 100 breaststroke. Deur is the most decorated diver in Calvin history as she is a six-time All-American and a three-time MIAA Diver of the Year. Deur has captured three consecutive league titles on both the one-meter and three-meter boards and is a three-time NCAA III All-American in both events. VanWoerkom has been a six-time NCAA III All-American in the relays during her career and was an honorable mention All-America selection in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle in 2008. Vail was a 2008 NCAA III All-American in the 200 breaststroke with a sixth place finish at the national meet while Roberts was a 2007 NCAA III All-American in the 100 breaststroke with a third place finish at the national meet.
“We have a good base of veterans to build on,” said Calvin head swim coach Dan Gelderloos. “We are a very veteran team and we have solid depth across the board. We’re looking forward to another exciting season.”
Other returning letterwinners for the Knights include seniors Jeena Velzen (Jenison/Unity Christian HS), Julie Wolfe (Westerville, OH/Westerville North HS), Jordan Scott (Oakville, ON/Kings Christian Collegiate) and Allison Rober (Logansport, IN/Logansport HS), juniors Casey Herman (Libertyville, IL/Libertyville HS), Kelley Barr (Dover, DE/Caesar Rodney HS), Alyssa Ludema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS), Laura Price (Warren, PA/Warren HS), Jo VanderLinde (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and Libby Veldkamp (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS) and sophomores Caitlin Alexander (Holland/Holland Christian HS), Monica Bressler (Sandusyk, OH/Perkins HS), Carmen Brummel (West Olive/Unity Christian HS), Jean Buteyn (Eden Prairie, MN/Eden Prairie HS), Kendra Kinzer (Fort Wayne, IN/Homestead HS), Danielle Mitchell (Iron Mountain/Kingsford HS), Brianna VandenEnde (Huntsville, ONHuntsville HS) and Gillian Wood (Wheaotn, IL/Wheaton North HS).
A strength of Calvin’s team will be its group of divers as Deur will be joined by Velzen and Herman as veteran leaders. Herman was a national qualifier in 2007 and earned honorable mention All-America recognition with a 14th place finish on the one-meter board.
Wolfe, Jordan Scott and Laura Price are other key veterans. Price and Wolfe were national qualifiers in 2008 and were members of All-America relay teams. Wolfe has qualified for the national meet in both 2006 and 2007 and has received All-America accolades in the relay events.
“I think we have depth across the board,” said Gelderloos. “Our immediate goal once again is to contend for an MIAA title. Another goal is to qualify several individuals for the national championships. I think both goals are attainable.”
Calvin will open its season on October 25 with an MIAA dual meet at Saint Mary’s. 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.
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.”
The roster of 29 will be part of the first Calvin women’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.”