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Women’s Swimming and Diving Wins MIAA Title For Ninth Straight Year - Men Take Second at MIAAs

Sunday, February 17, 2013

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(Photos by Dan Vos)

By Jeff Febus

JENISON - A furious finish by rival Hope was not enough to keep the Calvin women’s swimming and diving team from claiming its ninth consecutive MIAA title Saturday night at the Jenison Aquatics Center.

Under the direction of head coach Dan Gelderloos, the Calvin women’s team not only captured their ninth straight MIAA title, but also their 11th in the last 13 years, recording a final total of 802.5 points, 38 points ahead of Hope in the final team standings, marking one of the closet chases for the league crown in several years.

“We’ve had some champoinships come relatively easy but this weekend was not one of them,” said Gelderloos. “Hope made us sweat right to the end. We just had to keep trading punches with them from race-to-race and we found a way to get it done. It was a total team effort. To win nine championships in a row is pretty special.”

As it did throughout the weekend, Calvin used depth and timely first place performances to claim the title Saturday. Senior Elizabeth Counsell (Indianapolis, IN/Heritage Christian HS) was part of the veteran brigade the led the Knights as she captured the 200 breaststroke title for the third straight year, clocking in with an NCAA B’ cut qualifying time of 2:20.43. Senior teammate Samantha Klaasen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) also came up big, winning the one-meter diving competition with a season-best score of 451.15 points. She was later named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Diver for the third straight year.

Another highlight for the Calvin women included sophomore Kathryn Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) taking second in the 1650 freestyle with a school record and NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 17:30.81, breaking the previous Calvin record of 17:31.35 set by Laura Price in 2009.  Other notable efforts for Calvin included freshman Michaela Rookus (Hudsonville/Hudsonville HS) taking second in the 100 freestyle (52.89), sophomore Alexi Scott (Richmond, IN/Richmond HS) taking third in the 200 breaststroke (2:26.94) and freshman Lizz Roth (Brighton/Brighton HS) taking third on the one-meter diving board (395.85). 
The title is also the ninth by a Calvin athletics team this academic year including the third by a Calvin winter sports team.

By Mitch Blankespoor

JENISON, MI – The final day of the MIAA Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday evening at Jenison High School.  The Calvin men finished second with 666 points, behind champion Kalamazoo who finished with 895.5 points.  The Hope men finished third with a score of 527.5. 

“I loved watching our guys compete in numbers this weekend,” said Calvin head coach Dan Gelderloos.  “It almost brought tears to my eyes to see the progress we have made over the past several years.”

The second-place finish is Calvin’s best result in over twenty years.  Kalamazoo won the meet for the third consecutive year. 

The first event of Saturday evening for the men was the 1650 yard freestyle.  Calvin freshmen Caleb Meindertsma (Annandale/Va./Trinity Christian) shattered Calvin’s school by nearly 10 seconds with a time of 16:06.12.  Hope senior Josh Grabijas (Howell/Howell HS) was the defending champion, and finished runner-up with a time of 16:12.03.  For their efforts, both Meindertsma and Grabijas earned NCAA B-Cut qualifying times. 

The 200 yard backstroke followed.  Calvin junior Andrew Mitchell (Iron Mountain/Kingsford) finished in third with a time of 1:54.54

“Andrew [Mitchell] missed out on an NCAA qualifying time in the 200 [yard backstroke], but earned a B-Cut time for his split in the 400 medley relay,” said Gelderloos.

In the 100 yard freestyle senior Mark Rushlow (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) finished fourth with a time of 47.08. 

Calvin freshman Johnson Cochran (Mount Vernon, Ohio/Mount Vernon HS) finished third in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:05.09.  This shattered the old Calvin school record of 2:07.07 as well as earning Cochran an NCAA B-Cut time.  Sophomore Travis Vincent (Novi/Novi HS), whose record was broken by Cochran, finished in fourth with a time of 2:07.91.

“I’m really proud of Johnson’s [Cochran] effort tonight,” Gelderloos said.  “We think his B-Cut time will get him an invite to the big dance.”

The final event of the day and the entire meet was the 400 yard freestyle relay.  The Calvin relay team of Mitchell, freshman Mitchell Schroder (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian), sophomore Alex Baumann (Holland/Holland Christian) and Rushlow finished with a time of 3:05.61, just .04 seconds behind champion Albion. 

Dan Gelderloos Audio Interview

Aaron Paskvan Audio Interview

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