Swimming and diving sweeps home opener

Swimming and diving opens long season with Wayne State meet


Bohdanna Cherstylo

Oakland men’s and women’s swim and dive teams beat Wayne State at the home opener on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The men’s and women’s swim and dive teams left quite a wake in the pool during the season home opener against Wayne State University in the Oakland Aquatic Center on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The men’s team won 178-106 while the women’s team won 178-114. Both teams’ efforts allowed the Golden Grizzlies to take 20 out of the possible 32 events.

Despite having lost five seniors last season, and faced with the prospect of losing 16 this season, the underclassmen made a strong impression.

Head swimming coach and recent inductee into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Pete Hovland was pleased with the performances from the younger members.

“We’re seeing a lot of improvement, and that’s always important, that they take that next step,” Hovland said. “We know that they’re going to come in and swim fast their freshman year, but what they do in the off-season and on is important.”

Sophomore Paul Huch placed first in the 100-yard backstroke at 49.94 seconds. He also took first in the 100 freestyle at 46.60.

Freshman Micah DeJonge was first in the 500 freestyle at 4:39.21, contributing nine points to the men’s team.

Junior Holly Morren, accompanied by freshmen Grace Shinske and Katie Colwell, bolstered the women’s team.

Morren placed first in the 100 and 200 freestyles at 51.37 and 1:54.70, respectively, earning nine points each time. Shinske took two events and led the winning 200 medley relay. Shinske’s time of 56.58 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke along with her time of 2:04.70 in the 200 backstroke earned Oakland 18 points.

Colwell tacked on an additional nine points with the top performance in the 50 freestyle at 23.72.

“I thought the kids responded real well,” Hovland said. “You could definitely see it today, both on the women’s side and on the men’s side. From the onset, we had a lot of people swim fast. They like to compete, they like to show off, and they did some of that today.”

He acknowledged the hardships facing Wayne State.

“A little undermanned Wayne State team today [with] a lot of injuries and illness, so [it’s] not the team they’re going to be at the end of the year,” Hovland said.

He also stressed the importance of keeping the athletes conditioned through rigorous training programs.

“We have another three weeks of that, but we try to make a nice blend of it, so we don’t beat them up too much,” Hovland said. “We haven’t raced in a couple of weeks, and it’s still kind of early in the season for us, so keeping them somewhat fresh, but yet hopefully swimming faster in practices and on certain sets, is crucial.”

The preparation of both teams will be tried during the next meet.

“We’ve got a big test with three conference opponents next weekend at UIC,” Hovland said. “That’s going to be a two-day meet with all of the events, so we’ll see how they handle the five-hour drive and travelling, because that’s always a neutralizer.”

The Golden Grizzlies will hit the water on Nov. 4-5 as they take on Green Bay, Wright State and University of Illinois at Chicago at UIC.