The MIAA champion Hope College men's swimming team has qualified seven swimmers for the NCAA Division III championships to be held March 18-20. The competition will be hosted by Principia College in St. Peters, Mo.
Hope qualifiers are sophomore Kurt Blohm of Wilmington, Ohio (Wilmington HS), senior Ross Geurink of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS), senior Chris Hamstra of Zeeland (Zeeland HS), junior Jeff Heydlauff of Chelsea (Chelsea HS), senior Ian Kobes of Holland (Holland HS), sophomore David Ornee of Zeeland (Zeeland HS), and senior Jacob Taber of Battle Creek (Lakeview HS).
Coach John Patnott's Flying Dutchmen have qualified in five relays and seven individual events with multiple entries in the sprint (50 and 100) freestyle races.
A year ago the Flying Dutchmen finished 13th at the NCAA championships. The goal this year is to be a top-ten team for the 12th time in 14 years.
Seniors Ian Kobes and Chris Hamstra will be returning to the national championship meet a fourth consecutive year while junior Jeff Heydlauff is back for a third time. Senior Ross Geurink and sophomore David Ornee both competed in 2003.
Qualifying relays with their seeding are the 200-yard freestyle relay (seeded #2, 1:23.25), 400-yard medley relay (seeded #8, 3:26.18), 200-yard medley relay (seeded #11, 1:33.99), 800-yard freestyle relay (seeded #18, 7:03.10), and 400-yard freestyle relay (seeded #7, 3:05.67).
Kobes will be competing in the backstroke events where he is seeded #11 in the 100 (:51.70) and 24th in the 200 (1:54.13). His best national finish in the 100 backstroke was seventh in 2002; a year ago he was 10th. His best in the 200 was 11th in 2002; a year ago he was 21st.
Hamstra, who has achieved NCAA All-America recognition eight times as a member of freestyle relay teams, is seeded 22nd in the 50 freestyle (:21.23) and 16th in the 100 free (:46.52).
Blohm will be competing in three individual events. He is seeded 18th in both the 50 free (:21.19) and 100 free (:46.57) and 20th in the 100 backstroke (:52.23).
Geurink has qualified in both breaststroke events. He is seeded 21st in the 100 (:58.35) and 28th in the 200 (2:09.96). Heydlauff is seeded 27th in the 50 free (:21.34).
David Ornee and Jake Taber will be competing as member of relay teams.