The Hillsdale Women’s swim team placed 6th overall out of 10 teams and beat four school records at the 2014 GLIAC championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
The action for the Chargers kicked off on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Sophomore Zoe Hopkins led the way in the 1000 free, taking 3rd place while swimming 10:18.52, breaking the school record and earning a B‑cut in the process. Fellow sophomore Jennifer Wheeler placed 6th. Freshman Kylie Powrie and junior Jordan Rucinski also scored for the Chargers, placing 12th and 13th respectively.
In the 200 IM, sophomore Sarah Rinaldi placed 10th, swimming 2:07.89 and earning a B‑cut.
Thursday was another good day for the Chargers. Hillsdale’s 200 Free relay, made up of senior Hayley Johnson, sophomores Alissa Jones and Wheeler, and junior Rachael Kurtz placed 5th. Hillsdale’s best event of the day was the 200 freestyle. Hillsdale had four girls score points. Rachel Kurtz came in on top for the Chargers, placing 7th and swimming 1:55.32, with Powrie (13th), Wheeler (14th), and Hopkins (16th) rounding out the scorers for the Chargers.
Friday saw a battle in the 500 freestyle. Hopkins bettered the previous mark of 5:06 by a couple of seconds in the morning prelims, only to have Powrie drop it even further by swimming 5:01.38 in the finals. Hopkins was close behind with a time of 5:01.64. Both girls earned B‑cuts in the event.
Later in the day, sophomores Wheeler and Hannah Leitner placed 5th and 12th respectively in the 200 fly, which earned Wheeler her second B‑cut to nationals. In the final event of the day, Hillsdale’s 800 free relay placed 5th.
Hopkins, after already having a successful meet, smashed her old school record in the 1650 free, swimming 17:18.95 and earning another B‑cut. Powrie, who also earned a B‑cut, was not far behind in 7th place, and Leitner came in 16th.
Kurtz wasn’t content to return with only one school record. In the 100 free, Kurtz placed 3rd, earned a B‑cut, and swam a new school record of 51.19. Freshman Emily Balog grabbed a piece of the action too on Saturday, setting a new school record in the 200 breaststroke (2:24.28) while placing 13th. Freshmen Emily Shallman and Powrie, as well as Wheeler and Kurtz finished the meet by coming in 6th place in the 400 free relay.
“I was happy with both [my 50 and 100 freestyle times], but I’d say I was happiest with my 50 because I have a better chance of going to nationals,” Kurtz said. “I was pretty excited about how we did as a team. Everyone had a great meet and a lot of girls swam fast times.”
Coach Kurt Kirner was pleased with his team’s results and impressed with Kurtz’s improvement.
“The team score (of 6th place) was not as good as we would have liked but we had a lot of girls swim fast times,” he said. “It’s outstanding how much [Kurtz has] dropped in the 50. It’s quite a substantial amount of time to drop for someone who’s already an established sprinter,” he said.
The Division II National Championships will be held March 12 – 15. Until they know whether or not they qualified for the meet, the girls who are potential qualifiers will keep training hard.