2013-14 Calvin Men’s Swimming and Diving Preview
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
By Mark DeHaan
Coming off its most successful conference finish in program history, the Calvin men’s swimming and diving team is looking to continue improving and compete in every event come this year’s MIAA Championships.
You look down the lineup and there are no holes to be filled, said head coach Dan Gelderloos. We can compete in any event and that is going to be exciting. We want to be in the running for an MIAA championship come the last day, whether we’re 10 points up or 10 points down. We want to be getting to the last day with, ‘Ok, this is what we have to do (to win).’
The Knights head into the season without graduated seniors Mark Rushlow and Stephen Kraft, key members of last year’s team.
(Last season’s seniors) led this team along very nicely over the past four years and set us up for the way we’re practicing right now, said Gelderloos. Even though they are no longer here, they’re presence is still being felt and that is a cool thing.
With appearances at the NCAA meet also a goal of this year’s Knights, Calvin will look to leadership from a trio of swimmers who just missed the cut last season.
(Sophomore) Mitch Schroder, (senior) Andrew Mitchell, and (sophomore) Johnson Cochran were all on a medley relay that just missed out on going to the NCAAs. I know they have some big goals; I’ve seen what they’ve written down on paper, and it’s exciting to see how they’re going to finish it this year, said Gelderloos.
Mitchell was the team’s top backstroke swimmer in 2012-13, and holds the second fastest times in both the 100 and 200 backstroke in Calvin history. Schroder, meanwhile, swam strong times as a freshman in several freestyle events. Cochran holds the school records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, respectively.
Gelderloos also named a pair of sophomores who are looking to make it to Indianapolis next March.
(Sophomore) Caleb Meindertsma also had NCAA qualifying times that were just outside the bubble last year, and (sophomore) Aaron Venema is really close to taking big steps and finishing out the year the right way, said Gelderloos.
Meindertsma set the Calvin record in the 1650 freestyle in his freshman campaign. Venema was also strong in the long distance freestyle events, swimming the second fastest 500 freestyle time and third fastest 1000 freestyle time in school history last season.
Junior Travis Vincent, an All-MIAA performer along with Cochran, Mitchell, and Meindertsma last year, will also be a key contributor in breaststroke and individual medley events for this year’s Knights.
Despite all the individual talent, Gelderloos says the team captains have been pushing the idea of swimming for the team.
We’re trying to swim for each other, we’re trying to swim for God, we’re trying to swim for anything but ourselves, and that is something that has to be learned, said Gelderloos. It can’t just be said or written down; it has to be day-to-day, asking ourselves why are we here. (We’re) trying to make each other better, and motivate each other, because our own personal goals can only take us so far.
That team mentality, as well as a balance of talent and skill, is what Gelderloos hopes will help the Knights challenge for the MIAA title.
On the men’s side, we probably have the most balanced team I have ever had, said Gelderloos. I think we’re going to be hopefully taking another step forward and get closer to the MIAA championship; the guys are really motivated to take on the top dogs.
The Knights begin their season on October 19 when they host the MIAA relays. Calvin’s first conference dual meet is scheduled for October 26 away at Albion.