Men’s and women’s swimming & diving claim MIAA championships


The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams celebrate together after their victories. Photo courtesy Calvin Sports Information.

Men and women’s swimming and diving clinched the MIAA title over the course of a four day swim meet from Feb. 21 to 24 at the Venema Aquatic Center.

While the Knights competed against six different schools, Kalamazoo College athletes were not able to earn any points due to the MIAA infractions from last year.

The men’s team took home the title after finishing second place last year. This year, they trailed Albion College until the last day of the meet, until Calvin made a come back in the last event. The Knights finished six points ahead of Albion at 934.5 points.

The women’s team won the MIAA title for the 14th consecutive year. They finished 184 points ahead of second place Hope College.

Sophomore Fear Churchwell provided an anecdote on this year’s competition for the men’s team:

“We got second last year by a good bit. Albion kind of ran away with it. The highlight this year was when we won on the last relay of the meet. The biggest challenge was holding on to the lead during the last day to get to the last relay because we thought we could win it.”

Furthermore, Churchwell reflected on his experience on the team, “Swimming gave me something to focus on and people that believe in me,” he said. “Collegiate swimming is especially good because there is a focus on the team and not the individual, which is what it was like when I swam club.”

Junior Ben Holstege and senior Abby Van Harn were each respectively awarded the title of MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer.

Ben Holstege won seven different events during the meet, individually winning three different events. These included the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, and 200-yard backstroke. He was also apart of the winning teams for the 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle, 800-yard freestyle, and 400-yard medley.

Van Harn won the title for MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer for her second consecutive year, individually winning three different events and with the team for four other relay events. She won the 50-yard freestyle,100-yard freestyle, and the 200-yard freestyle for individual events, and won the 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle, 800-yard freestyle, and 200-yard medley relay with other teammates.

Junior Kara Komarek competed in the 200-yard IM, 100-yard breaststroke, and 200-yard breaststroke. She pointed out some memorable parts of the meet: “I dropped time in all three of my events, which was exciting. Also, many of our teammates made the national cut. Another highlight is that the boys won the meet, and it came down to the last event the 400-yard freestyle relay.”

The Knights swimming are on hold till they find out who will progress to the NCAA DIII Championships happening in March at Indianapolis, Indiana. The Knights diving team will compete in the NCAA DIII Central Regional Championships on Mar. 2 and Mar. 3 at Chicago, Illinois.