This past weekend, while most students were on fall break, the women’s swim team travelled to Northern Michigan University for a two-day competition against the Wildcats. The Chargers lost the relay meet on Friday 190 – 168 and the normal meet on Saturday 170 – 101.
Several swimmers said numerous factors contributed to the results. This was the first competition (excluding the Blue vs. White intrasquad meet) for the Chargers this season, so nerves played a factor. Also, the girls had to travel eight and a half hours by bus north, which fatigued them mentally as well as physically prior to competing. The Chargers have also recently increased their training volume, which means the girls are putting in more yardage in the pool on a daily basis than they are used to. Though it will fatigue the girls in the short-term, this increased amount of training is supposed to pay off at the end of the season once the girls rest and prepare for GLIACs.
The Wildcats of NMU also put on a show. They did better this past weekend than they did even at the end of last year. Swimmers usually do their best at the end of the season after a few weeks of rest, which really puts NMU’s stellar performance in perspective.
There was some positive points of the meet for the Chargers. Freshman Carson Burt thinks that the Chargers “did pretty well considering we drove eight and a half hours.”
Hillsdale placed second, third, and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke as well as the 200-yard freestyle. The Chargers also placed second and third in the 200-yard butterfly. A few notable individuals also performed well. Promising freshman Sarah Rinaldi won the 200-IM and placed second in the 100-yard backstroke. Sophomore Rachel Kurtz, the school record-holder in two sprint freestyle events, took first place in the 50-yard freestyle race. Catherine Shilka took first place in the 100-yard butterfly, which Coach Kurt Kirner was particularly impressed by.
Coach Kirner plans on following the same training philosophy, though he says he may tweak the girls’ individual training. The Chargers will now practice separately in the morning, with different groups doing different workouts. Dual meets like this one, according to Kirner, “are relatively unimportant.” He stresses that with continual hard work and consistent training the girls will be ready for when it really counts: at the end of the season. Meets like the Calvin Invite and the GLIAC Conference Championships will be the true tests for the girls.