Over fall break, the ladies on the swim team competed against Grand Valley State University and Calvin College, falling 159 – 77 and 119 – 118, respectively. The Chargers held their own against both teams, which come from bigger schools and therefore have bigger programs.
As per usual this season, there was good news for the Chargers despite the losses on paper. Hillsdale captured first and second place in the 1000 free. The freshman-sophomore combination of Kylie Powrie and Zoe Hopkins both broke the impressive 11 minute barrier, finishing in 10:54.8 and 10:57.44.
Junior Rachel Kurtz placed second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.57, and third in the 100 freestyle in 54.46. Freshman Emily Balog won the 200 IM in 2:14.55, and Hillsdale actually would have swept the first two spots had it not been for junior Sarah Rinaldi’s disqualification from the event.
Sophomore Naofa Noll also contributed to the Charger effort, taking second place in the 100 butterfly in 1:01.35. Hillsdale also did well in the second long distance event, the 500 free, with Powrie and freshman Jennifer Wheeler going placing first and third and finishing in 5:18.03 and 5:21.95. Hillsdale’s breaststrokers complimented the long distance crew with freshman Emily Balog, and juniors Ali Bauer and Cayley Cruickshank placing 2 – 3‑4 in the 100 breast.
Senior Alison Johnson, who competed in the 100 butterfly, as well as both relays said that even though they lost, “it was actually a really fun meet, and everyone had a good attitude going into it. In other years we’ve faced easier teams, so this year has been harder.”
Sophomore Hannah Leitner swam the 500 free in addition to both relays. She said she likes the 500 as an individual event, but also really enjoys the relays.
“[Relays] don’t have as much pressure and they’re more enjoyable because your teammates are right there cheering for you,” Leitner said. “Obviously you want to do well in your own events but with relays there is an added motivation because you never want to let your teammates down.”
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the women’s swim team traveled to Lewis University to face off against the Flyers, and came up short 117 – 87.
Despite the loss, the Chargers took first place in three events. Kurtz took first in the 50 free, which is common practice for her, in 24.85 seconds. Rinaldi notched the second win, coming home in the 200 IM in 2:13.83, her fastest time so far this season. Wheeler capped off the first place finishes for the Chargers, edging out opponent Katie Hallenback in the 200 butterfly by less than one second, finishing in 2:12.79.
Other notable performers for the Chargers included Hopkins (second in the 1000 free in 11:10.39), senior Jordan Rucinski (third in the 200 free in 2:02.41), both Kurtz and Rinaldi again (second in the 100 free in 54.92 and third in the 200 backstroke in 2:17.63 respectively), Powrie (second in the 500 free in 5:22.17), and Balog (second in the 200 breast in 2:31.63).
Coach Kirner said that despite the result of the meet, the Chargers did improve.
Kirner attributed the loss to a number of things.
“We were scrambling for people because many girls were sick at the same time,” he said. “Lewis was very good this year, the coach is doing great things with their program, and it was just a combination of not being healthy and not winning when we needed to.”
The Chargers have had a slight change to their schedule and will be competing next weekend in Canton, Ohio where they will face Malone and Findlay.