The 2002-03 men's swimming and diving team returns a veteran squad which will be trying to sustain a tradition of excellence that has found Hope finish among the nation's top ten NCAA Division III teams 11 of the last 12 years.
A year ago coach John Patnott's Dutchmen finished fifth at the NCAA championships. Graduated is national breaststroke champion Josh Boss, but returning are five swimmers who achieved Division III All-America recognition a year ago.
The pre-season roster of 24 swimmers and divers includes 17 returning letterwinners. There are five freshmen, seven sophomores, seven juniors and five seniors.
Returning All-Americans include senior Daniel Bouwens of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS), junior Chris Hamstra of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS), sophomore Jeffrey Heydlauff of Chelsea, Mich. (Chelsea HS), senior Ian Kobes of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), and senior Brian Slagh of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland HS).
Slagh achieved individual All-America honors in two events last year, finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle. He is also the two-time defending conference (MIAA) champion in the 200-yard freestyle.
Kobes was also an NCAA All-American last year, finishing seventh in the 100-yard backstroke. He was also 11th nationally in the 200-yard backstroke. He is the two-time defending conference (MIAA) champion in both events.
Bouwens, Hamstra and Heydlauff were members of Hope's All-America relay teams.
Other returning letterwinners include sophomore Matthew Cook of Wyoming, Mich. (Grandville HS), junior Ross Geurink of Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS), sophomore Robert Knecht of Grand Rapids, Mich. (GR Christian HS), sophomore Chris Lininger of Kalamazoo, Mich. (Portage Central HS), senior Adam Lyng of Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS), junior Brad Norden of Jenison, Mich. (Jenison HS), senior Chris Roecker of Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview HS), junior Matt Stoltz of Pleasant Lake, Mich. (Northwest HS), junior Jake Taber of Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview HS), senior John Vinke of South Holland, Ill. (THornwood HS), sophomore Matt Waterstone of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), and sophomore Matt Zuska of Lake Forest, Ill. (Lake Forest HS).
Coach John Patnott returns for his 22nd season as head coach. He has coached 102 All-Americans and had national champions 30 times during his career. He has also had 38 Academic All-Americans since 1984. His teams are annually competitive in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and at the NCAA Division III national championship meet. He has coached Hope teams to 23 conference championships -- 16 by the women and seven by the men.
Hope will host the MIAA championhips at the Holland Aquatic Center from February 13-15. The NCAA Division III championships will be held March 20-22 at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.