posted February 12, 2005

Flying Dutchmen are MIAA Swimming/Diving Champions

The Flying Dutchmen are champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) in the swimming and diving for the ninth time in school history.

In competition that ended Saturday at the Holland Aquatic Center, coach John Patnott's Dutchmen won the championship for a second consecutive year.

Meanwhile, the Flying Dutch ended second in the women's championship behind rival Calvin.

The championship by the Flying Dutchmen also marked a milestone in Hope athletic history as it is the college's 200th since joining America's oldest collegiate conference in 1926. Thirty of those team championships have come in swimming and diving.

Hope totaled 478.5 points in the men's meet followed by Olivet 411, Kalamazoo 398, Calvin 333, Albion 318 and Alma 86.5.

Junior Kurt Bluhm of Wilmington, Ohio was a triple champion capturing the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle. His times in the 50 free :20.69) and 100 backstroke (:51.33) were MIAA and pool records and has earned him a trip to the NCAA Division III national championships which will be hosted by Hope College next month. His 100 free time (:45.83) was a conditional qualfying time for nationals.

Freshman Daniel Gardner of Alma, Mich. was a double winner, capturing the 500-yard freestyle (4:39.22) and 1,650-yard freestyle (16:15.24). Both were NCAA conditional performances. The 1,650 mark was a pool record.

The Flying Dutchmen won three of the meet's five relays, all in conditional qualifying times. The champion relays were the 400-yard freestyle (Blohm, junior Travis Barkel of Zeeland, Mich., sophomore Abram Glas of Kalamazoo, Mich.), 3:05.69; 200-yard freestyle (Blohm, Barkel, Glas and senior Jeff Heydlauff of Chelsea, Mich), 400-yard medley relay( Blohm, senior Matt Waterstone of Holland, senior Chris Lininger of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Heydlauff), 3:30.16.

Calvin totaled 562 points in the women's meet followed by Hope with 465, Kalamazoo 365, Olivet 287, Albion 206, Alma 146 and Saint Mary's 141.

Hope's lone individual champion was senior Erika Steele who qualified for nationals in the 50-yard freestyle (:24.06). Steele was also the runnerup in the 100-yard freestyle (:51.47) and 200-yard freestyle (1:54.46).

The Flying Dutch won the 200-yard medley relay setting a pool record (1:49.66) with a team of sophomore Sarah Diekevers of Jenison, Mich., junior Lisa Ekdom of Holland, Mich., sophomore Lisa Smith of Deareborn, Mich. and Steele).

Lisa Smith qualified for nationals by finishing second in the 100-yard butterfly (:57.43). Senior diver Stephanie Buck of Fort Wayne, Ind. was the silver medalist on both the one and three meter boards.