Women’s Swim Team Receives Good Counsell in Building First Place Lead at MIAA Championships
Saturday, February 19, 2011
By Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice
JENISON - The Calvin women’s swim and dive team have put themselves in prime position to secure another conference title after a strong second day in the water. With one day of competition left, the Knights have 556 points, 91 points ahead of second place Hope.With a good morning of preliminary races, the Knights took full advantage of their opportunities to score points and placed a number of swimmers in the evening championship heats. That depth across the board for the women combined with some key first and second place finishes have given the Knights a commanding lead in the meet standings going into the final day of competition.
“On the women’s side we did it with numbers this year and that’s kind of a cool thing to do,” Calvin coach Dan Gelderloos said afterward. “We continue to have great swims all the way across the board and the women increased their lead slightly on a day where they could’ve easily let that lead slip a little bit, so that was a good thing.”
Leading the way for the Knights on Friday was sophomore breaststroker Elizabeth Counsell, who took first in the 100 breast after coming from behind on Thursday to win the 200 IM in dramatic fashion.
“I really felt like it [200 IM finish Thursday] came out of nowhere,” Counsell said after the final events Friday. “I was just super excited going into it and I just really believed that I could win the event, and I went out and had fun.”
Counsell won the 100 breast with an NCAA III automatic qualifying time of 1:04.18 and she still has her best race, the 200 breast, to come on Saturday.
“She [Counsell] deserves every bit of it,” Gelderloos said of his sophomore swimmer. “She’s probably having the highlight meet of the week, that’s for sure.”
“It’s quite a relief just to know that I’m going to nationals [for the 100 breast] and it’s really exciting,” Counsell said. “For the 200 breaststroke I’m excited because it’s my best event, but I’m trying not to pressure myself into thinking that ‘Yes I have to win it’. I’m just going to go and do my best.”
The only other first place finish for the Knights Friday came from senior Monica Bressler, who won the 100 back with a time of 59.04. Calvin placed four swimmers in that final backstroke heat as well, taking the 6-8 places along with Bressler’s first place finish.
“Monica [Bressler] is swimming well but kind of doing it the hard way,” Gelderloos said of Bressler’s win. “This year I think it’s not quite as easy as she wants it to be but she still gets the job done and that’s a credit to her.”
Second place finishes for Calvin included the 200 medley relay [Brianna Vanden Ende, Libby Counsell, Caitlin Alexander, Monica Bressler] who finished with a B-cut time of 1:47.48, the 200 free by sophomore Stephanie Fox who finished with a time of 1:55.75, and the 800 free relay [Counsell, Fox, Shelby Cloyd & Kendra Kinzer] who finished in a time of 7:53.10.
“It’s really good to have great team members who are really encouraging and who are there for me to support me when I need them and to push me,” Counsell concluded. “As a team we’re standing really well.”
With 556 overall points and leading Hope by a solid 91 points going into the final day of swimming, the Knights will be back in the water again Saturday looking for another conference title, keeping in line with the strong competitive tradition that the Calvin women swim team has always been known for.
The final heats tomorrow will begin again at 6 p.m.