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Madeline Breay swims during the 1000 yard freestyle on January 19. (Christian Yiu | Col­legian)

The Hillsdale College Chargers took second place at the Uni­versity of Chicago invi­ta­tional Nov. 22 – 24 and cur­rently hold mul­tiple top-10 place­ments in the con­ference standings for each event.

Several chargers made season or lifetime best times as they fin­ished second out of 10 teams with a score of 694. The hosts, the Uni­versity of Chicago, won the meet with 1667 points and Lewis Uni­versity took third with 683.5 points. 

“It went as I expected. They got the oppor­tunity to showcase what they’ve been working for and had some really great times,” head coach Kurt Kirner said. “But we can still be faster.”

Several dis­tance swimmers got lifetime bests in the 1650 freestyle Friday evening. Freshman Sarah Clark took seventh place and made a lifetime best by 13 seconds with a time of 18:15.23.

“It was very encour­aging to see that all the work that we’ve done so far is paying off,” Clark said. “And we’ll only get faster and stronger.”

The Chargers all scored in the top 20 in the 500 freestyle on Sat­urday, and freshman Leah Tunney made her first NCAA B‑cut with a third-place finish of 5:03.42, which means she’s nearing the qual­i­fying times for the national meet. 

On Sunday, four Chargers fin­ished the 400 IM in the top 10: Junior Katherine Heeres fin­ished fourth, senior Danielle Snell fin­ished fifth, senior Allie Matti fin­ished eighth, and senior Catherine Voisin fin­ished 10th. Matti and Voisin both earned lifetime-best times in the finals.

“These mid­season meets are a really good test for con­ference finals,” Snell said. “This is the first meet that we are somewhat rested for and that we wear our cham­pi­onship suits. It’s a very dif­ferent envi­ronment than the dual meets.”

Kirner called the Chicago invi­ta­tional “an important dress rehearsal” for the con­ference finals next semester, as the times from this meet will determine heat placement for the cham­pi­onship. The standings, however, will not be announced until after some of the con­ference teams compete in their invi­ta­tional this coming weekend.

Kirner said the invi­ta­tional is also a good way to decide how the relay teams will train together in the next two months before the cham­pi­onship season.

Several Chargers will travel to Calvin College for the Calvin Winter Invite, seeking to earn new best times to qualify for the national meet. They will compete on Friday through Sunday. For those who aren’t racing this weekend, they’ll rest up and practice for their next meet, which is a dual race on Jan. 11 at Depauw Uni­versity.