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Elizabeth Counsell Earns National Runner-Up Berth in 100 Breaststroke - Calvin In 11th at NCAAs

Friday, March 22, 2013

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SHENANDOAH, TX - The Calvin women’s swimming and diving team remains in 11th place at the NCAA III Championships. The Knights have a team total of 68 points with one day of competition left.

Senior Elizabeth Counsell (Indianapolis, IN/Heritage Christian HS) highlighted the evening for Calvin with a national runner-up finish in the 100 breaststroke, clocking in with a season-best time of 1:02.79. Counsell entered the meet seeded seventh in the event but pulled off the third-fastest time of the morning prelims (1:03.40) and then lowered her time again in the evening finals, finishing only behind Amy Spay of Wisconsin-Whitewater (1:00.85).

The finish is the best by a Calvin swimmer in the event at the national meet, surpassing the third place finish earned by Emily Roberts in the 100 breaststroke in 2007. It also marks the second individual All-America finish of Counsell’s career at Calvin. She was an All-American in the 200 breaststroke two years ago and will have a chance to swim for honors in that event on Saturday.

Counsell was one of two Calvin swimmers to score in the 100 breaststroke Friday night as freshman Michaela Rookus (Hudsonville/Hudsonville HS) was 11th in a season-best time of 1:04.20 that was good for a honorable mention All-America berth.

“We had two great swims by Elizabeth and Michaela,” said Calvin swim coach Dan Gelderloos. “For Elizabeth, it was great to see her break through and have a big race. She has battled through some ups-and-downs over the last two years, particularly at nationals so this race was pretty sweet. Michaela’s swim was also very impressive. She has a bright future ahead of her.”

In the one-meter diving competition, senior Samanthah Klaasen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) took 15th for an honorable mention All-America spot. In the prelims, Klaasen just missed earning a spot in the finals as she posted a score of 416.85, just over four points out of eighth place. In the consolation round, shen then slipped back to 15th, finishing with a score of 387.0 points.

“We are very proud of Samantha,” said Calvin head diving coach Aaron Paskvan. “This was her first year at the national meet and getting her was a big goal. She made a strong run at All-American in both boards this week and gave it her best shot. As a coach, that’s all you can ask of your athletes.”

Scheduled to compete for Calvin on Saturday are Counsell in the 200 breaststroke where she is seeded 17th as well as the quartet of Counsell, senior Rachel Colasurdo (Cheseapeake, VA/Home Schooled) and senior Kristy Kinzer (Fort Wayne, IN/Homestead HS) in the 400 freestyle relay.

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