Hope College will host the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) swimming and diving championships for men and women at the new Holland Community Aquatics Center from Thursday thru Saturday, Feb. 15-17.
It will be the 31st annual championships meet for men and the 25th for women. Kalamazoo is the five-time defending men's champion while Hope will be bidding for its tenth straight women's crown. There will be defending individual champions in 12 men's and seven women's events.
Preliminaries each day will begin at 10:30 a.m. with finals beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night. There will be an admission charge.
Coach of the Hope swimming/diving program is John Patnott who in 20 years has guided teams to 23 MIAA championships, 16 by the women's team and seven by the men.
Senior Betsy VandenBerg of Beverly Hills, Mich. (Southfield Christian HS) will be bidding for her fourth consecutive MIAA championship in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke. She would become only the eighth female swimmer in MIAA history to win an event four consecutive years. An NCAA All-American in both events, VandenBerg holds the MIAA records in both events. Last year she was the NCAA Division III national champion in the 200-yard breaststroke and was third nationally in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Junior Josh Boss of Jenison (Jenison HS) will be seeking his third straight league crown in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke. Boss holds the Division III national record in both events. He is the two-time defending national champion in the 200-yard breaststroke. He was the NCAA silver medalist in the 100-yard breaststroke last year after winning the national title in the event as a freshman.
Senior Chris Dattels of Wilmette, Ill. (New Trier HS) is the defending MIAA champion in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke. He set an MIAA record in the 100-yard backstroke last year.
Sophomore Erin VandenBerg of Beverly Hills, Mich. (Southfield Christian HS) is the defending MIAA champion in the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events.
Other defending champions in the men's meet include Judsen Schneider of Kalamazoo in the 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle; Nicholas Dudas of Kalamazoo in the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard butterfly; Steve Domin of Kalamazoo in the 50-yard freestyle and Britt Johnson of Albion in the 100-yard freestyle.
Other defending champions in the women's meet include Anne Kuiper of Calvin in the 500-yard freestyle, Rebecca Domzal of Kalamazoo in the 200-yard backstroke, and Katie Waters of Albion in the 200-yard butterfly.
In addition to vying for league glory, the swimmers and divers will be seeking to qualify for the NCAA Division III championships to be held in Buffalo, N.Y., for the women from March 8-10 and the men from March 15-17.