Women’s Swimming & Diving Captures Fifth Straight MIAA Title
Sunday, February 22, 2009
NOTRE DAME, IN—For the fifth consecutive year and for the seventh time overall, the Calvin women’s swimming and diving team can call itself MIAA champions. The Knights wrapped up another league crown on Saturday night, finishing with a final three-day total of 849.5 points. Calvin finished 90 points ahead of runner-up Hope.
Hope closed to within 37 points late in Saturday’s competition but the Knights sealed the title with a powerful performance in the one-meter diving competition as Calvin took the top two spots and four of the top
seven led by senior Erica Deur (Holland Christian HS) who took first place with an MIAA and school record score of 507.20 points. The mark by Deur surpassed her own school record of 505.50 set earlier this year and her own MIAA record of 478.20 points set at the 2007 MIAA Championships.
At the conclusion of the competition, Deur was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Diver for the fourth consecutive year. She concludes her league career as an eight-time MIAA champion, winning both the one and three-meter diving competitions four straight years.
In addition to Deur, Calvin received points from senior Jeena Velzen (Unity Christian HS) on the one-meter board with Velzen finishing second with a career-best score of 413.45. Junior Joy Leach (Charlottsville, VA) was seventh (370.80) and junior Casey Herman (Libertyville, IL) was eighth (368.70). Combined, the Calvin divers racked up 62 points in Saturday’s one-meter finals.
“Obviously when you win a league championship, it takes contributions from everyone on your team in a variety of events but I can not emphasize how important our divers were to us winning another championship,” said Calvin head coach Dan Gelderloos. “Our divers were fantastic this weekend and have been tremendous all year long. Our diving coach Aaron Paskvan deserves a great deal of credit for that. He is a very gifted coach and we are blessed to have him on our staff.”
The Calvin women swept both MVP awards on Saturday as junior Emily Roberts (Dekalb, IL) was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Swimmer. Roberts is the third individual from Calvin to receive the MIAA’s Most Valuable Swimmer award as Katie Nagelkirk was a two-time selection (2002 & 2003) and Becky Weima a four-time selection (2004-to-2007).
Earlier in the meet, Roberts won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke events with MIAA record times. On Saturday, she added a third place finish in the 200 breaststroke with an NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 2:22.64. She was part of a 1-3 Calvin finish as junior Maggie Vail repeated as league champion in the event, winning with an MIAA and school record time of 2:19.89, breaking the previous MIAA record of 2:20.54 set by Hope’s Betsy VandenBerg in 2001 and Vail’s own school record of 2:22.54 set a year ago.
“Maggie and Emily were sensational this weekend,” said Gelderloos. “When you can roll out a one-two punch like that in an event or in relays, you feel pretty good about your chances in a race.”
Calvin had several big performances on Saturday as junior Laura Price took second in the 1650 freestyle with an NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 17:31.35. Junior Libby Veldkamp (Calvin Christian HS) was third in the event for the Knights with a career-best time of 17:51.69 while sophomore Kendra Kinzer (Fort Wayne, IN) was fifth (18:03.46) and freshman Bridget Scott sixth (18:07.67).
In the 200 backstroke, sophomore Monica Bressler (Sandusky, OH) was second (2:08.53). In the morning prelims, she clocked in with an NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 2:07.78. Junior Jo VanderLinde (Grand Rapids Christian HS) also scored in the 200 backstroke finals, finishing eighth with a time of 2:13.07.
In the 100 freestyle, senior Cara VanWoerkom (Calvin Christian HS) was second with a career-best and NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 51.94 while senior Julie Wolfe (Westerville, OH) was fifth (53.61). In addition, Calvin’s 400 freestyle relay team of VanWoerkom, Price, Wolfe and Roberts was second with a season-best and NCAA III B’ cut qualifying time of 3:29.22.
“I’m just very very pleased for our team, particularly our seniors who will go out as the second group at Calvin to win four straight league championships,” said Gelderloos. “That’s something to hang your hat on and it is fitting because this class of seniors has been an outstanding group of leaders.”
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Calvin 849.5 points
2. Hope 759.5 points
3. Kalamazoo 504 points
4. Olivet 377 points
5. Saint Mary’s 375 points
6. Albion 301 points
7. Alma 223 points