Swimming and Diving to compete for ninth consecutive Horizon League Title


Maggie Willard

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

The Oakland University Golden Grizzlies men and women’s swim team’s 2021-2022 season is officially in the books, and all eyes are on the Horizon League Championships on Feb. 16-19, hosted by IUPUI in Indianapolis. The Golden Grizzlies look to win their ninth straight Horizon League Championship, and 44th conference title overall.

In regular-season meets, Oakland went undefeated in conference play, with notable wins against opponents such as the UIC Flames and the rival Cleveland State Vikings, both women’s and men’s teams were highly competitive against opponents in the Big 10 and even the Ivy League.

Oakland featured one of the deepest teams in the conference, led by redshirt junior Christian Bart and junior Marko Khotynetskyi, both of whom have received two Horizon League Swimmer of the Week Awards for the men’s team, three-time Swimmer of the Week Senior Susan LaGrand and one time-Swimmer of the Week Freshman Jordyn Shipps, Men’s Diver of the Week Freshman Scott Scrivano, and two time Women’s Diver of the Week Sophomore Ellie Chalifoux. 

Though Oakland’s wins and accolades showcase their dominance within Swimming and Diving, their Horizon League rivals this year are more than capable of challenging. Among the Horizon League finalists are the hosting IUPUI, Cleveland State, Green Bay, Milwaukee, UIC, and Youngstown State. Each team brings a level of talent and experience that can challenge Oakland on an event by event basis.

Though Oakland has the advantage in depth, events such as 3-meter Diving and the 1000-yard relay have been a point of concern as they look to repeat. A few close finishes and untimely losses can prove to be the difference between a ninth title and a new Horizon League champion. Teams like Cleveland State who is having one of the most successful seasons in the division could look to upset the defending champions.

Though the competition is tough, the Golden Grizzlies have two key advantages they can utilize: depth and experience. Oakland has numerous battle tested upperclassmen and women as well as highly talented underclassmen and women who look to be the next generation of Horizon League champions. With a blend of talent, experience, and youth, Oakland has the ability to keep calm and rely on training and talent to stay focused on each individual event to win.

This may be Oakland’s toughest battle yet, but in a battle of attrition, never count out the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland has consistently outperformed opponents on a week by week basis, has numerous player of the week honors, and has a combination of blowouts and gritty victories that will prepare them for the rigors of the Horizon League championship matches. The Oakland Golden Grizzlies swim teams don’t need luck this year, they just need to persevere like they have all season to earn their ninth straight. Seguir virtute e canoscenza.