The Chargers may have lost to Calvin College 148-86 and Grand Valley State University 165-61 at their Oct. 20 meet, but individual performances by junior Anika Ellingson and sophomore Victoria Addis and two strong relay swims made the competition a success.
Head coach Kurt Kirner said he evaluates each meet by the times his swimmers achieve in their races, not by the overall score they receive at the end of the competition. This viewpoint is especially important at an event where the Chargers faced teams with twice as many swimmers, according to senior captain Peyton Bowen.
“We like to emphasize the individual victories at this meet every year. It’s great to swim at such a nice pool and get a taste of the competition we’ll be facing at the Calvin Invite in December,” Bowen said. “We just put our heads down and trained extremely hard throughout fall break and will continue to do so throughout the season.”
Ellingson said she saw the team’s mental grit as a success of the competition in addition to the handful of standout events.
“The team worked really hard in the week leading up to the meet, and I know our times reflected our fatigue levels, but they also reflected our perseverance,” Ellingson said. “There were definitely disappointments but I believe I saw a triumph in how mentally tough the team was that day.”
Ellingson earned her team its only first place when she finished the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.97. Despite the win, she identified elements of the swim she wants to improve.
“I felt that I competed well considering how tired I felt,” Ellingson said. “My 100 Breaststroke felt a little rough and I know coach Kirner and I spoke about a few things I need to work on when I race, such as turn speed and keeping a faster tempo.”
Ellingson also brought her specialty stroke to the 200 medley relay and competed with freshman Katherine Heeres, sophomore Catherine Voisin, and junior Suzanne DeTar. They finished second with a time of 1:51.64.
After a fall break focused on fine-tuning the team, Bowen said she and her fellow swimmers are ready and motivated for their next meet.
“On Sunday, we take on Olivet and Notre Dame here at home,” Bowen said. “We’ve been training relentlessly over the past few weeks, especially here over fall break. We always suffer a substantial loss from diving, but I have confidence in the team’s ability to surpass the expectations placed on us. We want to win.”