Calvin Women’s Team Takes Command After Day One of MIAA Championships - Men a Close Fourth
Friday, February 12, 2010
(written by Derek Neice, Mitch Blankespoor & Jeff Febus)
One of the hardest working groups of athletes at Calvin are certainly the members of the Calvin swim and diving program. Here is why: Even before the fall semester begins, swimmers start practicing intensely, and their hard work continues all the way into February to Conference, the meet where that hard work pays off.
For the Calvin women, this initial day at Calvin’s Venema Aquatic Center has been one of the better first days of conference competition in recent memory and the hard work they have put in definitely is showing. The Knights put up 323 points Thursday, leading the next closest team by 147 [second-place Hope with 176], and moving to Friday’s races they are the frontrunner for the conference title.
On the men’s side, Calvin sits in fourth place with 124 points, just four points behind third place Olivet. Hope leads the men’s standings with 295 points with Kalamazoo second with 254 points.
“We came out ready to go and we placed very well today,” said Calvin coach Dan Gelderloos of his women’s team after the races had ended for the night. “The effort is tremendous and it’s really fun to see them support each other and see all the hard work pay off.”
The order of events Thursday included first the 200 free relay, and then the 500 free, the 200 IM, the 50 free, 3 and 1-Meter diving, and lastly the 400 medley relay.
Calvin’s top performers in strictly the swimming finals included Calvin’s A-team [Monica Bressler, Rachel Bos, Stephanie Fox, Maggie Vail] taking first in the 200 free relay with a NCAA III conditional qualifying time of 1:36.64, Maggie Vail and Emily Roberts taking first and second in the 200 IM with conditional qualifying times of 2:08.07 and 2:09.67 respectively, Monica Bressler winning the 50 free in a NCAA III conditional qualifying time of 23.76, and Calvin’s A-team [Bressler, Roberts, Barr, Fox] winning the 400 medley relay in an NCAA III conditional qualifying time of 3:57.06.
Of the tag-team combo in Maggie Vail and Emily Roberts in the 200 IM Gelderloos said, “They’ve trained hard together and they like each other so it’s fun to see them [Vail and Roberts] go head to head and not be afraid of who wins and who gets second.”
“And in the 50 [free] Monica [Bressler] may be having the meet of the week maybe for even everybody,” Gelderloos continued, talking of Bressler’s performance Thursday. “She’s really swimming well with lots of confidence right now and it’s good to see all her hard work pay off as well.”
Each of the above-mentioned finishes were so good in fact, that they all qualified for B-cut, meaning that those swimmers have a chance to compete in those events for nationals in March.
“The 200 free relay was a battle to be honest, we had seven or eight girls who probably could’ve ended up on there and we probably could have gone that same time with any of those combinations,” said Gelderloos of the first relay. Of the final race, the 400 medley relay he said, “There was the final 400 standing at the end of the night, and they did a great job, should get us to the big meet in Minneapolis.”
Calvin winning those events would have been good enough to put the Knights in the position to compete for sure, but some of their other finishes provided for the space that these girls created in the point totals at the end of the day.
In the 500 free finals, Calvin placed 5 swimmers in the top 8, sweeping the third through seventh place finishes [Laura Price in 5:10.11, Libby Veldkamp in 5:11.35, Shelby Cloyd in 5:14.14, Stephanie Fox in 5:15.83, and Kendra Kinzer in 5:17.24].
The Knights also had some good points in some of the consolation finals. In the 500 free consolation final Bridget Scott won with a time of 5:17.50, and in the 200 IM consolation Libby Counsell won with a time of 2:14.68. The last notable finish for the Knights in consolation finals was Kristen Kinzer in the 50 free taking 5th place [13th overall] with a time of 25.18.
All these finishes contributed to Calvin’s 323 points and large first place lead. The Knights are in perfect position to swim the next two days of competition and take the title.
In the men’s swimming competition, Calvin received an eighth performance from sophomore Ross Battoclette in the 500 freestyle (4:49.45) with freshman Mathias Bares claiming points in the consolation finals with an 10th place time of 4:47.72.
In the 200 IM, freshman Stephen Kraft was 10th (1:59.61) and sophomore Greg Gorham 16th (2:03.71). Calvin also put three swimmers in the consolation finals of the 50 freestyle with freshman Mark Rushlow winning the consolation heat in a ninth place time of 21:48 while senior Kurt VanAllsburg was 10th (21.64) and freshman Kenton Cooper 14th (22.13).
Both of Calvin’s relays on Thursday took fourth place with the 200 freestyle relay team of Rushlow, VanAllsburg, Cooper and senior Jon Herrema taking fourth with a time of 1:25.34 while its 400 medley relay team of freshman Kyle Garringer, Gorham, freshman Ryan Martinie and Rushlow took fourth in a time of 3:31.88.
“I think some of our younger guys had a little bit of the ‘deer in the headlights’ look during the morning prelims but tonight they had a whole mindset,” said Gelderloos. “I told them to just swim their own race and not worry about all of the great swimmers here. It’s definitely a learning experience for our young guys but they did a nice job tonight. They will be the building blocks for our team in the future.”
As for the fight for third place, Gelderloos was optimistic. “On paper, we had ourselves down 20-30 points to Olivet after day one so to be sitting back just four points feels good,” he said. “We made up a lot of ground on day one. Now we just have to keep the ball rolling.”
DIVERS RECORD STRONG EFFORTS ON DAY ONE
Thursday also featured the first day of diving competition and both Calvin teams racked up solid points on the boards.
On the women’s side, Calvin had three divers with national worthy prelim scores in the three-meter dive competition. Because of this great success, Calvin held three of the eight spots in the diving finals, more than any other school. Highlights of the prelim rounds included senior Casey Herman scoring a pool record.
“ Casey came out and had one of her best performances of her four year career here at Calvin. She set a pool record, as well as the third consecutive time she has been over 400 on eleven dives.” head diving coach Aaron Paskvan commented.
Senior Casey Herman ended up with the highest prelim score at 464.95. Carmen Brummel was second for the Knights with a score of 411.70.
“ We finally got the cut we needed from Carmen. We can send in a tape and see what happens. She has been on the verge all year long. I can’t say enough about her. She has worked her tail off all year long.” Paskvan said of Brummel.
The final potential national qualifying score for Calvin came from freshmen Samantha Klaasen. She scored 419.30, which is another potential national qualifier.
“ She gives us yet another dart to put on the board for nationals. This might gets us over the hump in the selection process.” Paskvan said of Calvin’s chances to send a diver to Minneapolis.
The finals were a bit different from the prelims. Emily Magyer from Albion College won with a score of 466.05, breaking Herman’s pool record set earlier in the day. Calvin was not to be denied and took three of the next four spots. All together the diving team added a valuable 46 points to the overall team score which helped broaden the Knights lead to 323-176 over second place Hope College.
As for the men’s diving team, freshman Colin Reynolds put on a fine showing in the one meter dive competition Thursday night.
“He comes out and really works hard. As far as the fundamentals go, he has built up on them a lot this year. He ends up on the podium to give the men some huge points. I couldn’t be prouder of him.” Paskvan commented.
Reynolds finished with a score of 296.50, good enough to score the Knights a fourth place. He gave the men’s team a crucial 15 points. While Hope and Kalamazoo are ahead of the pack by a good ways, Calvin is in a dogfight with Olivet for third place. Picked to finish 20 points behind Olivet, Calvin has now put itself in position to pass the Comets as they stand just four points behind the Comets.
The men and women will switch events over the next two days with the women competing on the one-meter board Friday and the men on the three-meter board Saturday.
“Colin has some of the best takeoffs here,” said Paskvan. “He doesn’t have the degree of difficulty to hang with the two top dogs, but I expect him to be right in the mix.”