After a slow start to the season, the Chargers picked up the pace this weekend by tallying two victories, putting them at 3 – 2 overall.
Hillsdale blew Malone University out of the water 190 – 19 and solidly defeated Findlay 135 – 105. Hillsdale’s victories came against two GLIAC opponents at home on Saturday, Nov. 6.
“The meet this weekend really boosted our confidence,” junior Alison Johnson said. “It was nice to get a couple of victories, and it was really a good meet for everybody.”
Upperclassmen swimmers propelled the Chargers to victory. Senior Sarah Leitner had a stellar performance. She started off by individually winning the 50-yard free, and then with junior Becca Remmes, led the Chargers to a 1 – 2 placing in the 200-yard backstroke. Leitner finished the meet by anchoring Hillsdale’s victorious 400-yard freestyle relay, which handily defeated Findlay by a margin of seven seconds.
Sophomore Chargers Rachel Kurtz and Jordan Rucinski took first place in the 100-yard free in 53.66 and Rucinski the 500-yard free in 5:24.1, respectively.
In addition to the strong performances by veteran swimmers, Hillsdale benefitted from impressive performances by its promising freshman class.
Freshman Sarah Rinaldi kept her win-streak alive. She earned her third individual victory in three meets. Rinaldi, in addition to winning the 200-yard IM, took second place in the 200-yard breaststroke by only one second.
Following Rucinski’s lead, freshmen Jennifer Wheeler and Hannah Leitner placed second and third, respectively, in the 500-yard free and capped off the one-two-three Charger sweep of the event.
Coach Kurt Kirner was pleased with the results.
“Findlay is a close rival of ours, so beating them helps our confidence,” Kirner said. “We relied on our depth to overpower the other teams’ talent base.”
The Chargers’ next match-up comes against Olivet and Northern Ohio at home, Nov. 9. Yet the Chargers are looking ahead.
“We’ll back off [of our training] a little bit as we prepare for our Calvin meet, where we’ll hope to swim qualifying times for GLIACS,” Kirner said.
Before the Calvin Invite, which is a 3 day event beginning Nov. 29, the women will taper, or reduce their training volume in hopes of maximizing performance. The team will resume intense training as usual until the GLIAC conference championships.
As for the upcoming competition this Friday the team plans to get creative.
“Since we are facing smaller DIII opponents, it will provide an opportunity for the girls to experiment in events that they normally don’t have the chance to swim,” Kirner said.