The Hope College swimming and diving teams will get an early start on their season by hosting DePauw University in a non-conference dual meet on Friday, Oct. 24, at the Dow Center.

The meet begins a season that culminates with the NCAA Division III championships in March.

Women's Pre-Season Swimming Outlook

The defending MIAA champion Flying Dutch return a blend of returning letterwinners and newcomers who together promise another season of accomplishment.

Last year Coach John Patnott's Dutch won their 10th league championship in the last 12 seasons and the 20th in school history.

This year's pre-season roster of 32 swimmers and divers includes 20 returning letterwinners. There are 12 freshmen, eight sophomores, six juniors and six seniors who have all lettered three years.

Two swimmers return as multiple-year defending conference champions. Senior Michelle Smith of Olympia, Wash. (Homeschool) is the three-time defending MIAA champion in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle. Senior Audrey Arnold of Richmond, Ind. (Richmond HS) is the two-time defending champion in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke.

Five swimmers achieved All-MIAA distinction last year -- Michelle Smith, Audrey Arnold, sophomore Lisa Ekdom of Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS), junior Kari Foust of Plymouth, Mich. (Plymouth Salem HS), sophomore Meagan O'Neil of Troy, Mich. (Troy HS), and sophomore Erika Steel of Portage, Mich. (Portage Northern HS).

Senior tri-captains of the team will be Arnold, Lindsay Close of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), and Haley Martin of Battle Creek, Mich. (BC Lakeview HS).

Other returning letterwinners include sophomore Lisa Baran of South Lyon, Mich. (South Lyon HS), junior Catherine Brinks of Zeeland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS), junior Stephanie Buck Fort Wayne, Ind. (Homestead HS), junior Lindsay Fach of Rose City, Mich. (Ogenaw Heights HS), sophomore Laura Rippberge of Sylvania, Ohio (Sylvania Northview HS), sophomore Rebecca Schewe of Berkley, Mich. (Berkley HS), junior Sarah Smith of Dearborn, Mich. (Dearborn HS), senior Jannifer Strach of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS), senior Melissa Sulok of South Bend, Ind. (Clag HS), sophomore Ashley Tillman of Birmingham, Mich. (Seaholm HS), sophomore Erica VanGilder of Midland, Mich. (Midland HS), and sophomore Emily Veneklase of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Union HS).

Hope's swimming program has also been recognized for excellence in academics at the national and conference level. Several members of this year's team were named to the 2002-03 MIAA Academic Honor Roll -- Lisa Baran, Lindsay Close, Lisa Ekdom, Lindsay Fach, Haley Martin, Meagen O'Neil, Rebecca SChewe, Michelle Smith, Sarah Smith, Erika Steele, Melissa Sulock, and Ashley Tillman.

Men's Swimming Pre-Season Outlook

A strong core of returning letterwinners combined with a large contingent of promising newcomers should put the Flying Dutchmen in a position to maintain a tradition of excellence among the nation's NCAA Division III programs.

A year ago coach John Patnott's Dutchmen finished runner-up in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and 13th at the NCAA championships with three All-America performances.

Coach Patnott returns for his 23rd season as head coach. He has coached 104 All-Americans and had national champions 30 times during his career. He has coached Hope teams to 24 MIAA conference championships -- 17 by the women and seven by the men.

The pre-season roster of 29 swimmers and divers includes 16 returning letterwinners. There are 10 freshmen, four sophomores, seven juniors and eight seniors.

Returning All-Americans include sophomore Travis Barkel of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS), senior Chris Hamstra of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS), junior Jeff Heydlauff of Chelsea, Mich., senior Ian Kobes of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS) and sophomore David Ornee of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS).

Kobes is a three-time All-MIAA champion in both the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke events. Last year he finished 11th nationally in the 100 and in 2002 was 11th in the 200.

Hamstra and Ornee were also voted to the 2003 All-MIAA team while senior Ross Geurink of Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS) achieved the distinction in 2001. Geurink swam the breaststroke leg on Hope's MIAA champion medley relay teams a year ago.

Senior Jeff Seymour of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS) joins Geurink and Kobes as the team's captains.

Other returning letterwinners include junior Matt Cook of Wyoming, Mich. (Grandville HS), sophomore Jamin Dreyer of Holland, Mich. (Zeeland HS), junior Robert Knecht of Grand Rapids, Mich. (GR Christian HS), junior Chris Lininger of Kalamazoo, Mich. (Portage Central HS), senior Brad Norden of Grandville, Mich. (Jenison HS), senior Matt Stolz of Pleasant Lake, Mich. (Northwest HS), junior Matt Waterstone of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), and junior Matt Zuska of Lake Forest, Ill. (Lake Forest HS).

Hope's swimming program has also been recognized for excellence in academics at the national and conference level. Several members of this year's team were named to the 2002-03 MIAA Academic Honor Roll -- Jamin Dreyer, Ross Geurink, Brad Norden, David Ornee, Jeff Seymour, and Matt Waterstone.