HOLLAND, Mich. – For the 13th-straight year and for the 15th time in program history, the Calvin women's swimming & diving team won the MIAA title on Saturday evening at the Holland Community Aquatic Center. The Knights finished the four-day competition with 868 points. Calvin won three events on Friday and nine events at the Championships. Hope was in second place with 687 points. Calvin also finished the meet with the Most Valuable Swimmer in junior Abby Van Harn (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and Most Valuable Diver with junior Sarah Bradley (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North).
"We talked before the meet about getting out and charging to the finish line," said head coach Dan Gelderloos. "I told the team that they have what I am addicted to, that energy and the feel. This is going to be a meet that we can learn from, going forward. We have been able to accumulate some consistent recruiting classes every year and that is starting to pay dividends. This is a good group of ladies that wants to be successful in academics, the pool and in life."
The evening started with a second-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle for sophomore Anna Serino (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney). Serino clocked in at 17:51.83.
Calvin sent three swimmer into the finals of the 200-yard backstroke on Saturday. Freshman Abbey Wellman (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) led the way at 2:06.27 to take second place. Wellman had the second-fastest time in school history in the prelims at 2:05.88. In sixth place was freshman Emily Slenk (Zeeland, Mich./Holland Christian) at 2:10.57 with the eighth-fastest time in school history and freshman Sydney Boyer (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) checked in at 2:14.44 in eighth place.
The Knights dominated the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday night, with five swimmers in the finals. Abby Van Harn tied her league record in first place, with a NCAA B-Cut time of 50.85. Sophomore Madelyn Smith (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) was in second place at 52.56 with the ninth-fastest time in school history. Junior Rachel Mattson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) clocked at 52.87 to finish in third place. Freshman Emily Gunderson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) continued her strong championship performance with a fifth-place finish at 53.59. In eighth place was freshman Libby Engle (Troy, Mich./Troy) at 54.23.
Van Harn claimed the Most Valuable Swimmer honors with three individual victories and was on three victorious relay teams. She is the first Calvin swimmer to win the award since Michaela Rookus in 2014 and the seventh all-time.
"It feels really good to be named MVP," said Van Harn. "It has been a couple of years of hard work and it feels good to finally get it this year. This team is just amazing. We have so much depth and great relationships."
In the 200-yard breaststroke, junior Klara Oh (Kent, Wash./home school) was the was the fastest-Knight at 2:29.19 in fifth place. Touching the wall at 2:33.35 was senior Adrienne Wesselius (Sioux City, Iowa/Unity Christian) in seventh place.
Sophomore Kendall Murphy (Modesto, Calif./home school) tallied a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly at 2:12.27 with the fifth-fastest time in school history.
Sarah Bradley won the 1-meter diving event with a score of 471.85 points. Bradley claimed the Most Valuable Diver award, with victories at the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Bradley is the first Calvin diver to win the award since Samantha Klaasen in 2013 and is the third all-time.
"I feel really good after this week," said Bradley. "It is always fun to celebrate with my team. We have worked very hard this season."
Sophomore Amelia Andrilenas (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita) finished in fifth place at 340.95 points. Senior Hillary Glover (Wyoming, Mich./Calvin Christian) competed for the first since having heart surgery at the end of the fall semester and advanced to the finals with an eighth-place finish at 298.95 points.
I was very nervous," said Glover. "I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I was trying to be the same diver that I was before the surgery, which was not the case at all. I was excited, because my goal was to dive at conference and the amount of pride and pleasure that came with succeeding is amazing. I was able to work hard and overcome to get back on the boards and prove to everyone I could do it."
The Knights closed the meeting breaking the MIAA record in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Madelyn Smith, Rachel Mattson, Anna Serino and Abby Van Harn finished in first place with a NCAA B-Cut time of 3:28.50.
Final Team Scores
- Calvin 868
- Hope 687
- Kalamazoo 669
- Albion 627
- Alma 228
- Olivet 155