The instructions are simple and straightforward for the Hope College women’s swimming & diving team this week from head coach John Patnott.
Have fun. Compete.
The Flying Dutch are contending for Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship this week after winning all their league dual meets this season. Pressure is there, but Patnott wants his swimmers and divers to enjoy the moment.
“Going into the meet, we want to be doing what we did at the Calvin meet and make sure we’re racing, not worry about times,” Patnott said. “When they’re having fun, they swim better. When they’re tense, they don’t swim as well.”
The 2016 MIAA Swimming & Diving Championships begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Calvin. The four-day meet features 10 a.m. preliminary sessions and 5:30 p.m. finals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Hope is aiming to end Calvin’s 11-year reign as MIAA champion. The results of this week’s meet determine the league champ.
Calvin is the favorite to repeat, but Patnott expects a terrific meet between contenders Hope, Calvin and Kalamazoo.
“There are a ton of place to move up,” Patnott said. “We tend to rest very well, put up some fast times. I think our kids will respond.”
Senior diver Sarah Sheridan of Richmond, Indiana (Richmond HS) is seeded first in 1- and 3-meter diving.
Her top 3-meter score is 479 points. Teammates Sara Plohetski of South Lyon, Michigan (South Lyon HS) and senior Stephanie Polet of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS) are seeded fifth and sixth, respectively, at 381.75 and 371.30.
Sheridan’s 1-meter score is 457.4. Plohetski is seeded fifth at 378.45, while Polet is sixth at 358.2.
Junior Molly Meyer of South Bend, Indiana (John Adams HS) ranks first in the 200 backstroke at 2:06.1.
Hope landed two of the top three seeds in the 400 individual medley: sophomore Chloe Palajac of Dearborn, Michigan (Dearborn HS) in second at 4:35.98 and sophomore Elizabeth Fris of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS) in third at 4:45.12.
Freshman Elisabeth Craig of Grand Rapids, Michigan (East Grand Rapids HS) ranks second in the 100 butterfly at 58.34. Meyer is ranked 16th, but is a two-time MIAA champion in the event.
The Flying Dutch own three of the top five seeds in the 200 individual medley: Meyer in third at 2:13.09, Palajac in fourth at 2:13.53 and senior Jorgie Watson of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Catholic Central HS) in fifth at 2:13.60.
Watson also is seeded second in the 200 breaststroke at 2:30.13 and third in the 100 breaststroke at 1:07.40. She is two-time returning MIAA champ in the 200 breaststroke and one-time returning MIAA champion in the 100 breaststroke.
Meyer ranks third in the 100 backstroke at 57.84. She is the returning MIAA champion.
Hope claimed four of the top eight seeds in the 200 freestyle: freshman Sydney Asselin of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) in fourth at 1:57.14, senior Klare Northuis of Holland, Michigan (Holland HS) in fifth at 1:57.21, freshman Abigail Brinks of Commerce Township, Michigan (Walled Lake Northern HS) in seventh at 1:58.12 and Fris in eighth at 1:58.22.
Hope has two of the top four seeds in the 500 freestyle: Fris in third at 5:12.23 and Palajac in fourth at 5:13.09.
The Flying Dutch own two of the top four seeds in the 1,650 freestyle: Asselin in third at 18:13.74 and Fris in fourth at 18:15.91.
Northuis ranks fourth in the 50 freestyle at 24.51.
Hope earned two of the top six seeds in the 200 butterfly: Palajac in third at 2:09.91 and Craig in sixth at 2:16.62. Palajac is the returning MIAA champion.
The Flying Dutch have three of the top eight seeds in the 100 freestyle: Northuis in fourth at 52.88, Brinks in fifth at 54.25 and Asselin in eighth at 55.38.