After two dis­ap­pointing losses to Northern Michigan Uni­versity over fall break, the Chargers rebounded with a solid second place per­for­mance against Lewis College and Grand Valley State. The Chargers topped Lewis College 160 – 63 while falling to Grand Valley 151 – 88.

The women improved their times in the second official com­pe­tition of the season. Senior Sarah Leitner said the team as a whole seemed much more sharp than in their first meet of the season and per­formed well.

Leitner said, “Looking only at the score would give the impression that Grand Valley beat us badly, and I think that the score doesn’t reflect our true per­for­mance.”

Leitner also added that “our relays per­formed much better this time around.”

In the 200-meter medley relay, the Chargers took second to Grand Valley by an incredibly narrow margin. At the very end of the meet, led by Hayley Johnson, Lauren Burt, Sarah Leitner, and Rachel Kurtz, the girls avenged their loss in the 200-meter medley relay by taking first place in the 200-meter free relay.

Freshman Zoe Hopkins said “ I feel like we really redeemed our­selves after that first meet.” Hopkins herself made an important con­tri­bution to by the Chargers. Hopkins made her debut in the 1000-meter freestyle, a par­tic­u­larly gru­eling event, placing second with an impressive time of 11:13.36. Hopkins, who has raced the 500-meter free before but never the 1000-meter free, said the race required “a com­pletely dif­ferent pace and mindset.”

Two other freshmen per­formed well in the Chargers’ second place showing. Sarah Rinaldi, whom Coach Kirner was espe­cially impressed with, won the 200-meter IM and dis­played her wide range of abil­ities by placing third and fourth in the 100-meter breast and 100-meter free, respec­tively. Jen­nifer Wheeler, also a freshman, placed second in the 500-meter free.

Coach Kirner said he pleased with his girls’ per­for­mance. He felt like the girls “were more men­tally pre­pared this time than last” and dis­played “more team spirit, which is always a pos­itive factor in any meet.”

In addition to being impressed by Sarah Rinaldi, Kirner also said Sophomore Alison Bauer did well as she was “fast early in the season, which is a good sign for what is to come later on in the year.”

The Chargers don’t race again until November 3rd, when they will compete against Malone and Findlay at home. In the meantime, the girls will stick to an intense training schedule and look to build strength for the Calvin Invite at the end of November.