The Flying Dutchmen maximized their opportunities to maximize the results enroute to finishing sixth at the NCAA Division III men's swimming and diving championships in Atlanta, Ga. this past weekend (March 16-18).
Coach John Patnott's Dutchmen achieved All-America honors in six events as all six Hope competitors returned as NCAA All-Americans.
It marks the ninth time in 10 years that the Flying Dutchmen have been a top ten team nationally. The sixth place finish is Hope's best since 1995 when the Dutchmen were second.
Sophomore Josh Boss of Jenison (Jenison HS) successfully defended his national championship in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:02.12). He earlier finished second in the 100- yard breaststroke (:55.94).
The performance by Boss gives Hope the distinction of having the NCAA Division III national champion in both the men's and women's 200-yard breaststroke. A week earlier junior Betsy VandenBerg of Beverly Hills (Southfield Christian HS) captured the gold medal in the 200-yard breaststroke at the women's nationals as the Flying Dutch also finished sixth in the women's team standings.
Boss becomes the first Hope male swimmer to win back-to-back national
championships. He is Hope's 25th national champion (men and women) since 1982. His best times this season -- :55.01 in the 100 and 2:01.84 in the 200 -- have qualified him for the U.S. Olympic trials in August.
Junior Chris Dattels of Wilmette, Ill. (New Trier HS) achieved All-America recognition by finishing seventh in the 100-yard backstroke with a school-record time (:51.29), He was also an honorable mention All-American by winning the consolation final and ending ninth overall in the 200-yard backstroke.
The rest of Hope's points came in relay events. The best performance came in the 400- yard freestyle relay with a team of Dattels, Boss, freshman Brian Slagh of Holland (Zeeland HS) and junior Scott Vroegindewey of Kalamazoo (Portage Central HS) claiming the bronze medal with a third place finish. It tied the Hope mark for the best national finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Dutchmen were fourth in both the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard medley relay. Dattels, Boss, Bouwens and Vroegindewey combined in the 200 for a season best time (1:32.64) while senior Jarod Lippert of Alma (Alma) joined Dattels, Boss and Bouwens in the 400, also with a season-best performance (3:24.15).
The 200-yard freestyle relay achieved honorable mention All-America status with a 14th place finish (1:25.96). Slagh ended 26th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.22).