The Hillsdale College Chargers beat the Calvin College Knights 118.5 – 112.5 on October 18, despite spotting the Knights 26 points for diving. The Chargers also swam against the Grand Valley State University Lakers in the tri-meet and lost 162 – 67.
The seniors were particularly excited about the win against Calvin, for this is their first time to beat the Knights during their time at Hillsdale. It was the freshman, however, who led the team in points.
Freshman Leah Tunney had a strong performance with second-place finishes in all three of her events — the 1000 freestyle (10:33.04), 200 IM (2:13.53), and 100 backstroke (59.30).
Tunney said she is happy to be contributing to the team effort.
“A freshman athlete’s biggest fear is that they’re not gonna provide for the team,” Tunney said. “Swimming is an individual sport but you’re competing for a team goal.”
Other notable freshman performances included Anika Fassett’s second-place finish in the 100 butterfly (59.81), Madison Pyhel’s third-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:15.73), and Marie Taylor’s third-place finishes in the 50 freestyle (25.02) and 100 freestyle (55.11).
Head coach Kurt Kirner said the freshmen have also pushed the other swimmers to improve their times.
“We have a very strong freshmen group, but probably the most important thing is it makes the upperclassmen better,” Kirner said. “In practice, the freshmen are pushing the envelope. In meets, they’re even swimming against each other. The inner-team competition is the key to a good team.”
Both Calvin and Grand Valley are a division above Hillsdale, so the swimmers and coaches were focused mostly on getting good times in the tri-meet.
“We’re not necessarily out to win a particular meet,” Kirner said. “It always makes it nice when we win, but it’s really about having those good individual times so that they’re prepared for the final, more important meets.”
Junior Katherine Heeres, who took second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:58.76, said she swam her best in-season times since being at Hillsdale.
“On Friday I managed to drop my time from the Davenport race by two-tenths, which is the fastest time I’ve swum in-season since being here,” Heeres said. “So that hopefully bodes well for the future.”