October 13, 2012 - The 2012-13 season got off to a difficult start for the Hillsdale College women's swimming team in the Great White North.
The Chargers took on Northern Michigan University in a relay event Friday and a typical dual meet Saturday morning and lost both. NMU beat Hillsdale 190-168 Friday and 170-101 in Saturday's meet.
Saturday, Hillsdale was able to secure three first places, from three different academic classes. Sophomore Rachael Kurtz, the school record holder in the 50 free, won that event with a time of 25.20 seconds.
Senior Catherine Shilka took first place in the 100 butterfly, touching the wall in 60.77 seconds. Freshman Sarah Rinaldi, participating in her first official collegiate meet, won the 200 IM in 2:12.99. Rinaldi made a big impression with some wins in the Blue-White intrasquad meet back on Sept. 29.
"We swam admirably but struggled with our speed and consistent perfomances," said head coach Kurt Kirner. "Being a young team, these are the struggles we will experience as the team transitions to college rigors."
Freshman Zoe Hopkins also made her collegiate debut over the weekend, and turned in a couple of strong finishes, placing third in the 200 free and fourth in the 500 free. Sophomore Jordan Rucinski took second and third in those same events for Hillsdale.
Another freshman, Jennifer Wheeler, had an impressive college debut meet, with a second place in the 200 butterfly and a third-place finish in the 100 butterfly.
Northern Michigan won all nine relay events on Friday.