In the final two home meets of the season, the Hillsdale College Chargers beat Indiana Wesleyan University on Saturday, but fell to Saginaw Valley State University the next day. Despite Sunday’s loss, the Chargers managed to break the Hillsdale pool record in the 400 medley relay.
The record-breaking relay team of DeTar, Voisin, Ellingson, and Heeres snatched first by three seconds against Saginaw Valley in four minutes and 0.62 seconds.
“The Saginaw Valley State competitors they were up to gave them just the edge to be at their best last Sunday,” head coach Kurt Kirner said.
Against Indiana Wesleyan, the Chargers won seven out of 11 events, and had multiple first and second place finishes across the board. Freshman Anna Clark shone, taking first in the 1000 freestyle in 11:32.62.
Since she’s been swimming more distance in her first year at college, Clark said she has grown to enjoy different race strategies. She plans on swimming the same event in the upcoming G-MAC championship meet, along with the 1650 freestyle and the 100 and 200 butterfly.
“I see it as a game or challenge,” Clark said. “In the 1000, I got an early lead and I knew I had to hold on to that and try to break away. I was able to do that, and I am very happy with my first individual collegiate win.”
Junior Catherine Voisin said she felt great about this meet. Last week was rough for her, but Voisin said she was still able to swim well regardless.
“I think that’s a testament to the hard work we put in the first semester and our winter training trip,” Voisin said.
Voisin swam her fastest in-season time in the 100 butterfly in 59.37 seconds, one second less than Indiana Wesleyan. Though she said she felt a bit discouraged about her 100 butterfly this season, Voisin said the win felt like a breakthrough. A new race strategy improved her swimming and she plans on applying the same one at the G-MAC meet.
“Usually it’s pretty difficult to swim fast in your best events during the season, because we train so intensely throughout the year,” Voisin said. “Our bodies can’t recover for small weekend meets.”
Sophomores Katherine Heeres and Emma Rao, senior Anika Ellingson, and Voisin teamed up to win the 200 medley relay in one minute and 51.93 seconds. In the 400 freestyle relay, the A-relay of Rao, sophomore Mary Vita, junior Danielle Lebleu, and senior Suzanne DeTar swiped second in three minutes and 50.31 seconds.
Against Saginaw Valley State, the Chargers lost 132.50 – 90.50 and recognized the team’s four seniors — DeTar, Ellingson, Tiffany Farris and Grace Houghton — on Senior Day.
“These two meets provided an excellent opportunity to see where we stand time-wise in our events for the conference meet,” Ellingson said. “They were a good mental and physical challenge to see how well our intense training has prepared us. We may be physically or mentally exhausted, that won’t change the fact that we have to be up and racing.”
With the upcoming meets at Olivet College and Ohio Northern University, Kirner said the loss against Saginaw Valley is just part of the process. The meet highlighted which events need more practice and helped his athletes develop the mindset they need for the four-day championship in three weeks.
“All competitors offer different challenges,” Kirner said. “I would be happy with beating three out of the four opposing teams, which will give us a winning dual meet record for the season.”