GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The No. 20-ranked Calvin women's swimming & diving team posted a strong Thursday performance to lead after the second day of the MIAA Swimming & Diving Championships. The Knights have recorded 370 points heading into Friday, 114 points ahead of Hope College in second place with 256 points. The Maroon and Gold won two events on Thursday.
"I will tell you what, that was one of those special nights for us," said Calvin head coach Dan Gelderloos. "I do not think that you can get a whole lot better than that. We swam well, but it was more or less a culmination of what we build our foundation on as a team, relationships among the team, how comfortable we are with each other, how they like to work hard together and that paid off huge for us tonight."
The evening started with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay for the Knights. Sophomore Emily Gunderson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) gave the Knights a slight lead after the first leg at 23.97. Senior Rachel Mattson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) kept the momentum going with a split time of 23.42 to keep Calvin in front. In the third leg, junior Madelyn Smith (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) posted a time of 23.85. Senior Abby Van Harn (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) ended any hope for the field and clocked in a blistering 22.59 split. The Knights won with a time of 1:33.83, breaking the school and MIAA record. The school record was set in 2017 by these four women and the MIAA record was set in 2016 by Megan Schroeder, Rachel Mattson, Adrienne Wesselius, Abby Van Harn. The time is an NCAA B-cut time and is the eighth-fastest time in NCAA Division III.
Five Knights advanced to the 500-yard freestyle finals on Thursday. Junior Anna Serino (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney) led the way with a second-place finish at 5:04.75. Junior Kendall Murphy (Modesto, Calif./Home School) posted a career-best time of 5:06.60 in third place, with the fifth-fastest time in school history. The eighth-fastest time in school history came from Madelyn Smith in fourth place at 5:09.30. In sixth place was sophomore Libby Engle (Troy, Mich./Troy) at 5:11.70 with the 10th-fastest time in school history. Freshman Robyn Ellens (Hamilton, Mich./Holland Christian) touched the wall at 5:19.71 in seventh place.
Calvin picked up some key points in the 200-yard individual medley, with three Knights in the finals. Freshman Hannah Chao (Farmington Hills, Mich./North Farmington) was the fastest Knight in third place at 2:09.98 with the ninth-fastest time in school history. In fifth-place was sophomore Abbey Wellman (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) at 2:13.02, who posted a career-best time in the prelims. Sophomore Emily Slenk (Zeeland, Mich./Holland Christian) picked up points in eighth place at 2:16.04.
The 50-yard freestyle finals race was painted with Maroon and Gold with four Calvin swimmer advancing to the finals. Abby Van Harn picked up her second gold medal of the day at 23.35, an NCAA B-cut time. She broke the MIAA record in the preliminary round at 23.17. Emily Gunderson finished in second place at 23.79, her prelim time of 23.73 in an NCAA B-cut qualifying time. Rachel Mattson finished in fourth place with the ninth-fastest time in program history at 24.03. Junior Alyssa Oezer (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) touched the wall at 24.58 to record a sixth-place finish.
"Day two was amazing," said Van Harn. "It went much better than I expected and anyone expected. I think that we are on a high and are excited to head into day three."
Calvin had four of the eight highest scores on the women's 3-meter boards on Wednesday night. Senior Sarah Bradley (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North) led the Knights in third place at 440.30 points. Freshman Joselyn Smith (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland West) posted a career-best 417 points to take fourth place and freshman Hannabeth Magnussen (Oakdale, Calif./Ripon Christian) also recorded a career-best score of 384.70 points in sixth place.
"I am feeling very well," said Calvin diving coach Aaron Paskvan. "We dove really well in finals tonight. The three ladies put their best foot forward and we had some nice entries, some cleaner ones than prelims, I was happy to see that. We had two-lifetime bests with Josie and Hannabeth and Sarah just came up short on that last entry. We are there; we know we can put that dive away."
Calvin closed the night with a second-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. The team of Abbey Wellman, Hannah Chao, freshman Jenna Oezer (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and Anna Serino finished at 3:55.07, with a season-best time.
The Knights return to the pool on Friday morning for the third day of the four-day MIAA Swimming & Diving Championships at the Venema Aquatic Center.
1. Calvin College 370
2. Hope College 256
3. Albion College 184
4. Olivet College 109
5. Alma College 100