Swimming and Diving prepares for new season


Maggie Willard

The swimming and diving team practices ahead of the Black and Gold Instrasqaud match.

With the commencement of the annual Black and Gold Intrasquad Meet, the Golden Grizzlies Swimming and Diving teams have opened the doors to a new season full of possibilities. 

Last season, the men and women’s teams claimed their 43rd and 27th consecutive league titles during the Horizon League Championships, respectively. Now, for this upcoming season, Head Coach Pete Hovland returns to the pool with a roster full of depth and ready to repeat the same feat. 

For the men’s roster, the reigning and defending Horizon League Athlete of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet, Christian Bart, will be returning to the pool to try and compete for their 44th consecutive Horizon League title. For the women’s team, they have returning All-American and Horizon League Athlete of the Year Susan LaGrand and the reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Ronja Riihinen. 

Although both newcomers and returning players posted stellar times across the board during the Black and Gold meet, the evenly-matched meet ended in a win for the men and women’s Gold team, as they defeated the Black squad with a final score of 45-43. 

After this thirteen event meet, the Golden Grizzlies will look ahead and start the season by taking on the Michigan Wolverines at noon in Ann Arbor on Oct. 9. The Golden Grizzlies have only competed against the Wolverines once, back in 2009, and hope to avenge that one loss given to them with a stellar performance this season. 

The Golden Grizzlies will then look to break the tie held between them and the University of Toledo, before welcoming Xavier University into the pool for the first time. After falling off against Toledo and Xavier, the Golden Grizzlies will travel to Pittsburgh to face off in two back-to-back meets against Duquesne University, a university over which the Golden Grizzlies hold a unbeaten record at 3-0. 

After this, the Golden Grizzlies will host a string of first time matchups with Grand Valley State University on Nov. 5,  the University of Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 6th, Eastern Michigan University on Nov. 12, and Miami University on Nov. 13., all before participating in the Zippy Invite in Akron, Ohio from Dec. 3 to Dec. 5. 

After the Zippy Invite, the Golden Grizzlies will look to continue their run of dominance against Youngstown State University, where the Grizzlies sit with a 3-0 record all-time. The Grizzlies will then look forward to two first time meetings with Wayne State and Cleveland State before prepping for the USA Michigan Open in February. 

The Golden Grizzlies will then look to continue their winning ways at the 2021 Horizon League Championships, taking place from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team will then travel from Indianapolis to Elkhart, Indiana, for the CSCAA National Invitational Championships from March 10-16 to finish up the season. 

Head Coach Pete Hovland was not available for comment regarding the start of this season.