The Hillsdale College swim team pulled out a win at its last tri-meet of the 2021 – 2022 season, making the team offi­cially unde­feated for the second year in a row, according to coach Kurt Kirner. The meet on Jan. 21 saw Hillsdale race Dav­enport College and Calvin Uni­versity with final scores of 125 – 109 and 127 – 104 respectively.

This week, the Chargers swim team was also named the Scholar All America Team for the 15th year in a row by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Asso­ci­ation of America. Teams who are awarded this dis­tinction must have a teamwide GPA of 3.0 or higher. The team boasts a cumu­lative GPA of 3.43.

“I’m so proud of our team,” sophomore Car­oline Holmes said. “The cur­riculum at this school and the prac­tices that we do are both pretty chal­lenging, and it’s so awesome that our team can excel in both areas.”

“Whether we’ve had injuries, we have not been at our best at so many of these meets,” Kirner said. “But then again, other teams have their issues too. It’s just about everybody who is on deck for us being able to step up and fulfill a role in race.”

The whole Charger team got a chance to compete this week.


“Our whole team was back together. Some of us, including me, were gone for COVID last week when we nar­rowly beat Saginaw Valley. So it was nice to have a full team again,” Sophomore Car­oline Holmes said.

Though the point margins were not quite as tight as last week’s 114 – 113 win, the meet was close, espe­cially con­sid­ering both Dav­enport and Calvin had divers in the rotation, which earned them 32 points each. 

“We had a number of races where we just won by a couple hun­dreds of seconds or we just won by a touch, or we came from behind,” Kirner said. “And I mean, it’s just impressive. It’s the true def­i­n­ition of what a com­petitor should be. So I’m just so happy and thrilled with their response to things and their ability to go into it and under­stand just what it takes to compete.”

Notable wins came from junior Leah Tunney who fin­ished the 200 yard freestyle in 1:55.79. She just out-touched the second place fin­isher who swam a 1:55.92. Freshman Megan Clifford came third (1:58.86) and sophomore Sarah Patan­iczek came fifth (2:00.27).

Freshmen Joanna Burnham and Emma Dickhudt came two and four in the 200 yard indi­vidual medley at 2:14.04 and 2:17.25 respectively.

Clifford won the 100 yard but­terfly with a 59.03, again just hun­dreths of a second faster than the second place fin­isher. Patan­iczek fin­ished third with 1:01.17 and senior Ste­fanie Walker fin­ished sixth at 1:02.36.

Hillsdale came first and second in the 100 yard freestyle, with junior Marie Taylor in first (53.65) and sophomore Cecilia Guadalupi (54.34) in second.

Holmes won the 100 yard back­stroke with a 1:00.34 even after missing the last meet and mul­tiple days of practice due to con­tracting COVID-19. The second place fin­isher swam a 1:00.40.

“I was proud of that, I fought for that finish,” Holmes said. “I’m def­i­nitely feeling the rem­nants of not being in the water for a week now, but I think I was just trying to block it out in the race.”

Tunney also topped the 500 yard freestyle with a 5:12.57. Junior Sarah Clark and sophomore Amy Mills fin­ished fifth (5:26.43) and sixth (5:30.33).

In the 100 yard breast­stroke, Hillsdale swimmers came fourth, fifth, and seventh. Dickhudt swam a 1:10.33, Burnham a 1:10.78, and junior Hannah Douthitt a 1:12.29.

The Chargers closed out the meet with a win in the 200 yard freestyle relay. The team was com­posed of Guadalupi, junior Sydney Slepian, Tunney, and Taylor.

Kirner said he had never coached an unde­feated season before last year in over thirty years of coaching college swimming.

“Being unde­feated is never a dis­tinct goal that we’re con­stantly striving for during the season,” Slepian said. “We take each win as it comes as a product of our hard work in and out of the pool and proof of our overall ded­i­cation to the sport.”

“It’s been an incredible season and we hope we can cap it off with an incredible con­ference meet and get some kids to qualify for NCAAs,” Kirner said.

The Chargers will swim at an invi­ta­tional meet at Butler Uni­versity on Sunday, Jan. 30.

“We’ll get to compete against a lot of dif­ferent teams at a lot of dif­ferent com­pe­tition levels,” Holmes said. “A lot of people going to this will be fierce com­petitors and will just push us. And this is our one final meet before con­ference, so this is the time to finalize your race plan.”

Kirner said the meet will give them a good oppor­tunity to prepare for conference.

“We’re really using this meet as an important oppor­tunity to get those times and to practice against good com­pe­tition,” Kirner said. “So it’s to practice our mindset and our mental plan, how we get pre­pared on deck for races and then just to practice some race plans.”

Kirner said he feels con­fident in how well the team will do at conference.

“We’re in a really for­tunate sit­u­ation. The Omicron wave that we have going on has really closed off a lot of meets and we have not had to interrupt our schedule for any­thing,” Kirner said. “So while we’re going to go in pretty crisp and well pre­pared, the other teams have stag­nated a little bit. Now again, they’re going to be hungry to compete when they get to the championship.”

The G‑MAC and Mountain West con­ference meet begins on Feb. 16 and will run through Feb. 19 as a con­clusion to the regular season.