2009-10 Calvin Women’s Swimming & Diving Outlook
Monday, November 02, 2009
The 2009-10 Calvin women’s swimming and diving team will be seeking its sixth consecutive MIAA title including its eighth overall. With four All-MIAA performers from a year ago returning, the Knights have reason to think they will once again be in contention for the league crown.
Returing All-MIAA selections include seniors Emily Roberts (DeKalb, IL/DeKalb HS), Laura Price (Warren, PA/Warren HS), Maggie Vail (Portage/Portage Northern HS) and junior Monica Bressler (Sandusky, OH/Perkins HS).
A three-time All-MIAA selection, Roberts is the two-time defending MIAA champion and current MIAA record holder in the 100 breaststroke. Roberts was also named the MIAA’s 2008 Most Valuable Swimmer. At the 2008 MIAA Championships, she clocked a time of 1:02.72 which proved to end up as the fastest time in the nation in the event. A two-time All-MIAA selection, Vail is the two-time defending league champion in the 200 breaststroke and like Roberts, is the current MIAA record holder in the event.
Price is the defending MIAA champion in the 500 freestyle and was the league runner-up in the 1650 freestyle in 2008. Bressler is a backstroke specialist who placed second in the 200 backstroke and 100 backstroke at the 2008 MIAA Championships.
All four swimmers competed at the 2008 NCAA III Championships, helping Calvin place seventh as a team. Roberts was seventh at the national meet in the 100 breaststroke to gain All-America honors. She also joined Bressler on Calvin’s All-America 400 medley relay which placed eighth. Roberts and Price were part of Calvin’s ninth place (honorable mention All-American) 400 freestyle relay team while Bressler, Roberts and Vail helped Calvin’s 200 medley relay finish 10th. In addition, Vail was 13th in the 100 breaststroke and 15th in the 200 breaststroke at the national meet.
Calvin’s top relay finish at the national meet came from its 800 freestyle relay which finished seventh. Returning from that relay are Price, junior Kendra Kinzer (Fort Wayne, IN/Homestead HS) and senior Libby Veldkamp (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS).
Kinzer and Veldkamp are part of a powerful distance freestyle group at Calvin. At the 2008 MIAA Championships, Kinzer was fourth in the 500 freestyle, fifth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 1650 freestyle. Veldkamp was third in the 1650 freestyle, seventh in the 500 freestyle and ninth in the 200 freestyle.
There are several other key returning swimmers including senior Kelly Barr (Dover, DE/Caesar Rodney HS), Alyssa Ludema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS), Danielle Mitchell (Iron Mountain/Kingsford HS) and juniors Gillian Wood (Wheaton, IL/Wheaton North HS), Brianna VandenEnde (Huntsville, ON/Huntsville HS), Caitlin Alexander (Holland/Holland Christian HS) and sophomore Bridget Scott (Oakville, ON/Kings Christian Collegiate).
Alexander was the biggest point producer of the group at the 2008 MIAA Championships, placing fourth in the 200 IM, tied for fourth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 100 backstroke. Scott was sixth in the 1650 freestyle.
Perhaps the underlying backbone of the Calvin team however is its diving contingent. At the 2008 MIAA Championships, Calvin placed four divers in the top eighth on the three-meter board and three in the top-eight on the one-meter board.
Calvin’s top returning diver is senior Casey Herman (Libertyville, IL/Libertvyille HS). A two-time national qualifier, Herman claimed All-America accolades on the one-meter board at the 2008 national meet with an eighth place finish. She was also third on the three-meter board at the MIAA Championships and seventh on the meter-board. Other returning veterans include senior Joy Leach (Charlottsville, VA/Charlottesville HS) and junior Carmen Brummel (West Olive/Unity Christian HS). Leach was sixth on the one-meter board at the conference meet and also posted an NCAA qualifying score. Brummel also scored at the conference meet with a seventh place finish on the three-meter board and a ninth place finish on the one-meter board.
A strong incoming freshmen class will also provide a boost for the Knights in both the swimming and diving ranks. The Knights have 12 freshmen on the roster consisting of 10 swimmers and two divers.
Not lost in the shuffle is the fact that Calvin will train and compete for a full year inside the sparkling Venema Aquatic Center which Calvin moved into in late January last winter. The Venema Aquatic Center will be home to eight competitions for the Knights during the 2009-10 season including the first-ever Calvin Winter Invitational December 3-5 and the MIAA Championships February 11-13.