The Hillsdale women’s swim team had a fan­tastic weekend of com­pe­tition at the three-day Calvin Invite. The Chargers, who were well-rested and ready to go, fin­ished in fifth place overall and broke four school records and had many per­sonal-best times in the process.

On the first day of com­pe­tition, freshman Zoe Hopkins set the school record in the 1650 free with a time of 18:04.11. The fact that Hopkins had never raced the uncommon event before didn’t faze her as she con­tinues to post impressive times. Hopkins’ per­for­mance was not an easy victory.

“I was only 400 yards in and coach (Kirner) was already sig­naling for me to go faster and pick up my pace,” Hopkins said.

Swimming an event like that proved to be as much of a mental chal­lenge as a physical one for Hopkins, as her “mind really started to wander in such a long event,” she added. Fellow freshman Mikalah Smith, who swam the same event, also per­formed well and won her respective heat in 18:11.

The next day, fol­lowing Hopkins’ lead, sopho­mores Rachael Kurtz and Cayley Cruick­shank each set new school records. Kurtz, who had never broken 24 seconds before in the 50 free, did it twice in one day. Her time of 23.77 ranks her 16th overall in the nation for DII, though only 8th in the GLIAC, which is a reflection of the depth of the com­pe­tition of the con­ference.

Cruick­shank also per­formed notably. Despite bat­tling an injury earlier in the year, Cruick­shank swam an impressive 1:05.9. Training partner and fellow sophomore Alison Bauer was close behind with an equally impressive 1:06.88.

“It was nice for both of us to swim per­sonal bests because we’ve both had struggles in the past with dropping time,” Bauer said. “It’s also nice because it’s only mid-season and we weren’t fully tapered, so we’re opti­mistic for what could happen at GLIACs.”

The final day of com­pe­tition finally saw Hillsdale break a team record after three indi­vidual ones were shat­tered. In the 200 free relay, Hillsdale’s team of Sami Ward, Sarah Leitner, Hayley Johnson, and Rachael Kurtz swam 1:36.78 in a time trial. Kirner thought the team was capable of a faster time than they swam in the meet, so he had the girls try again at night after the official racing was over. The second time, every­thing clicked and a school record resulted. Sophomore diver Gretchen Geist also had a suc­cessful day on Sat­urday. Geist scored 304.5 points in her event, which was not only a per­sonal best showing, but also an eighth place finish.

Coach Kurt Kirner was pleased with the results.

“This might be the best mid-season meet we’ve ever had,” Kirner said. “The girls have been working very hard in practice and have the right mindset when it comes time to race.”

Although the girls did very well at Calvin, “it’s important for them not to get com­placent after strong per­for­mances like these,” Kirner added.

For now, the girls will dive back into hard training which they will con­tinue until their final prepa­ra­tions and tapering for GLIACs.