The Chargers prepare to dive in during their home meet earlier this season. (Rachel Kookogey | Collegian)


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.”