November 9, 2012 - The members of the Hillsdale College women's swimming team are used to beating the sun out of bed for practice every day. After its performance Friday night, the swimmers can take joy in hitting the snooze button for a change.
The Chargers mixed up lineups in their relays, but still turned out strong performances up and down the lineup in defeating Olvet College 137-78 and Ohio Northern University 141.5-90.5 at home in the McAvoy Natatorium Friday night.
Six a.m. practices are very common for the team, for a variety of reasons. But coach Kurt Kirner told the swimmers that if they won eight events, they would be spared a morning practice Saturday. Consider those snooze buttons warned.
Hillsdale deployed "different" relay lineups compared to other meets in the season, but the girls still delivered winning times. To open the evening, the foursome of Naofa Noll, Ali Bauer, Catherine Shilka and Hayley Johnson won the 200 medley relay in 1:53.29, which was a three-second margin over the second-place team.
Finishing out the meet, the team decided to run three teams in the 200 free relay as exhibitions, meaning the point totals they would have scored didn't figure into the final team score. The veteran group of Sarah Leitner, Lauren Burt, Emily Peltier and Sami Ward finished in 1:42.11, but only .13 seconds behind them was the group of Rachael Kurtz, Johnson, Megan Smith and Jordan Rucsinki. Jennifer Wheeler, Shilka, Carson Burt and Alison Johnson took "third" among those exhibition teams in that race.
Freshman Sarah Rinaldi, (pictured) who is already among the GLIAC leaders in her speciality races, took first places in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, events that were spaced just four minutes apart. She won the back in 1:02.55, and her fly time was 1:00.23.
Bauer had one of her best days in the pool in her career, taking second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:19.36, a season-best for her. Bauer added another PR in the 100 breaststroke, with an exhibition time of 1:09.03.
Diver Gretchen Geist won the 3 meter diving event with 217.5 points.
Kurtz, who swam a 200 free event that she rarely competes in, won the race with a time of 1:59.23, the only one under two minutes at the meet.