MIAA Season Preview

With the 2014-15 swimming and diving season looming, many questions remain unanswered in the United States oldest college athletic conference. Will Calvin reclaim the conference titles again on both sides? Who will be the runner-up? Will the return of National Champion Diver Will Guedes affect the conference dynamic in any way? How will Olivet fair with an entirely new coaching staff? Who will be missing from the rosters this year?

Calvin will be gunning for the conference championship titles again, and they have the rosters to back it up. They did graduate some top-end talent in Margaret Rechel, Andrew Mitchell and Peter Johnson, but their freshmen class is packed with studs to step in and contribute. The return of Will Guedes is huge for Kalamazoo in regards to individual conference titles, however, with only contributing in two events, it won’t be enough to catch Calvin. It will, however, give K a great opportunity to send a representative to NCAA’s, which is always good news, so welcome back Will! Olivet has welcomed a brand new coaching staff, comprised of Shea Davisson at the helm and Ray Amato as her right hand. This coaching duo will most definitely bring some new life to the program.
Most teams will be dealing with non-senior departures this year. Most notably reigning MVP on the women’s side Michaela Rookus. Kalamazoo loses junior Kelsey Kerbawy due to an opportunity to study abroad. Albion’s all conference backstroker Tom Parson can’t be found on the Briton’s roster, along with Jesse Ruter and Kathryn Wrobel, who are missing from Calvin’s roster. Hope’s roster reveals that Zach Diener and Will Greenlee will not be swimming this year. Rounding out the list of notable departures is Olivet’s Eric Dawdy. A real contender in the backstroke events last year, I’m sure the Comets will miss his speed at the front of their medleys.

Event Breakdown:

800 Freestyle Relay
Men:
Calvin loses the least on this relay, likely replacing Andrew Mitchell with Freshman Tanner Vincent. They’ll definitely be flirting with NCAAs here. Both Hope and Albion lose a lot, so I see Kalamazoo coming in second as three quarters of their relay will be back.
Women:
The Knights graduate two key members of this relay, but they will be replaced swiftly by Freshmen Ana Estrella and Abby Van Harn, boasting times of 1:54.5 and 1:56.2 respectively in the 200 Freestyle. Hope will have their contingent from last year together again so hopefully it be a sweet race again this year.

200 Medley Relay
Men:
It’ll be a close race between K and Calvin, but Kalamazoo’s sprinters are too good in my opinion. As far as 3rd place goes, you have to think Albion has what it takes to beat Hope. Depending on how some of their freshmen pan out we could be looking at a 3 horse race.
Women:
Naturally Calvin is the favorite, but Hope and Kalamazoo will be returning their entire relay from last year. Any one of them would be a good pick to win. I choose Hope.

500 Freestyle

Men:
Calvin could sweep with Venema, Meindertsma and Tanner Vincent. Keep an eye on Michael Allen of Kalamazoo as well, he’s been in the top 3 before and will be in contention again this year. With Venema the favorite to win, let’s see how many guys in the conference go sub 4:40. I think we’ll have four.
Women:
Lauren Seroka is the favorite, the 2-time defending champ will be looking to continue her dominance in the event. I think Lindsay Wiedehold (Hope) won’t be too far behind taking second.

200 IM

Men:
Last year the top 5 in the event were less than 2 seconds apart. Kalamazoo will have a healthy Kevin Ewing in the mix, in addition to talent such as Calvin’s Johnson Cochran and Travis Vincent. Can’t forget about Albion freshman David Alday either, he is a 1:52.8 in the event out of high school. However, Calvin’s Tanner Vincent is coming in with an even faster time at 1:51. I think he could flirt with 1:49 and win the event.
Women:
Michaela Rookus is gone. 1st place could be anyone, Lexi Scott (Calvin), Erika Waugh (Calvin) or Jaclyn Shetterly (Alma) come to mind.

50 Free
Men:
With the 1st through 4th finishers graduating, this event is wide open. Dylan Shearer has the best flat start time coming into the season with a 20.98 that he threw down in 2013. Expect some good swims out of Calvin’s Mitch Schroder and Eli Holstege this year. No new additions to the event from the incoming freshmen, so you can also expect top heat veterans such as Junior Jake Lindquist (Kalamazoo) and Sophomore Derek Bosko (Albion) to being looking to finish in the top 3.
Women:
Sophomore Tristyn Edsall is the best sprinter in conference, no doubt, she’ll take home her second title in the 50 with a 23.0. Behind her but ahead of everyone else in the conference you can figure to see Flying Dutchwoman Klare Northius and Briton Anna Hargrove.

400 Medley Relay

Men:
I think Kalamazoo could make things interesting for Calvin in the 4 medley. Ewing could easily drop a 51 to lead-off and I know Lindquist and Shearer can go faster than those posted times as well. BUT Calvin did go 3:20.9 in finals at Nationals last year, with assumed improvements there’s no reason why they couldn’t flirt with a 3:18 high next year.
Women:
This looks like it will end up being another dogfight between the women of Hope and Calvin. I give a slight edge to Hope. However, Kalamazoo could make a move, they’ll have Sophomore butterflyer Colleen Orwin back from injury.

200 Medley Relay

Men:
facenorth put together a pretty solid analysis of this relay on the MIAA forum. I like his insight. He has Kalamazoo touching first with a 1:32.1, followed by Calvin than Hope. However, with the way Calvin has been developing over the past few years you can’t count them out. Also, I see Albion beating Hope here, simply due to major losses from this relay contingent.
Women:
I have pretty much the same thoughts here as I did on the Women’s 400 Medley. I think the return of Orwin (Kalamazoo) will have a bigger impact in this one.

400 IM
Men:
Calvin has 3 studs in this event with Meindertsma, Travis Vincent and Tanner Vincent. The younger Vincent could go sub 4, if he swims this at the meet. Again, look out for Ewing, who should be very close to 4 minutes.
Women:
Last year’s champion, Jaclyn Shetterly from Alma, is the favorite by a few seconds over Lindsay Wiederhold (Hope). Monica Gorgas of Kalamazoo comes into college with 4:48 in the event, maybe she could sneak into the top three.

100 Fly

Men:
With a four finalists not returning, the battle for 3 through 8 could be interesting. However, I see this being a two horse race between Tyler Fisher (Kalamazoo) and Brett Stoughton (Calvin) for the title. Maybe we can see a 49 or two?
Women:
Hope’s Molly Meyer beat out Kalamazoo’s Miranda Doepker last year. I don’t think she will repeat though. She’ll be taken down by a Hornet, not Doepker, but Colleen Orwin. She was a stud during the duel meet season last year and is my favorite to win.

200 Free
Men:
The championship final loses a lot from last year, not the reigning champ though. Aaron Venema (Calvin) repeats, followed by some combination his teammates Mitch Schroder and Alex Baumman and Michael Allen (Kalamazoo). Over the past 3 years we’ve had 3 different winners, let’s see if Venema will change that.
Women:
Calvin’s freshman Ana Estrella come’s into her freshman year with an impressive 1:54.5. In addition to Estrella, they have freshman Abby Van Harn at a 1:56.2. If Lauren Seroka swims the event again this year you can guarantee she’ll be a top three performer.

100 Breaststroke
Men:
This is the deepest and best event in the conference in my opinion. Johnson Cochran will most likely be the winner, I think he’ll be faster than last year. There haven’t been any signs of him slowing down since he’s been at Calvin. After that it’s could be either of the ‘K’ breaststrokers Shearer or Lindquist, Eli Holstage from Calvin or last years runner up Jeff Zita (Hope).
Women:
With Rookus gone, it’ll most likely be Lexi Scott or Jorgie Watson form Hope. I give a slight edge to Watson as she beat Scott by a half second in finals last year.

100 Backstroke
Men:
There are 3 returners from last year championship final. Senior Cam Wasko being the fastest at 52.80. Some additions to the event could be Kevin Ewing, Tanner Vincent, Skyler Fish (Calvin) and Parker Belmore (Albion). If Tanner Vincent swims it I believe he’ll win.
Women:
Top two returners are Erika Waugh (Calvin) and Molly Meyer (Hope) at 57.5 and 57.9, respectively. The have over a second on the 3rd fastest returner, Klare Northuis (Hope).

1650 Freestyle

Men:
I don’t see the top three finishers changing from last year. I’m assuming Meindertsma will be a little quicker than last year. Let’s see how close he can get to the conference record of 15:51.00. He’ll be followed by Aaron Venema (Calvin) and Duncan MacLean (Hope).
Women:
Lauren Seroka all day. I would guess that Alma Sophomore Taylor Musselman and would be her, unless a newcomer steps up.

200 Backstroke
Men:
Tanner Vincent’s fastest time in the event is just over second faster than the 2-time defending champion Kevin Ewing at 1:50.37. Behind these two I’d predict the combo of Cam Wasko (Kalamazoo) and Chirstian Otteman, somewhere around 1:55.
Women:
Hannah Larson (Hope) and Erika Waugh (Calvin) have exchanged the title in this event over the past three seasons. I would expect one of them to win. Based on last years swims I would expect a 2:03 or faster to be the winning time.

100 Free
Men:
Albion’s Derek Bosko is the fastest returner at 46.35. Behind him is his new teammate David Alday (46.85) and Calvin Junior Brandon Muma (46.88). All of these guys will have a shot to win it. This event graduated a lot last year, expect to see some new names in the top heat.
Women:
With Rookus gone the title is definitely up for grabs. Should be a close one between Tristyn Edsall (Kalamazoo) and Klare Northuis (Hope). I predict they’ll be in the low 52s.

200 Breaststroke

Men:
Johnson Cochran has to be the favorite again coming in with a top time of 2:00.44. Then there are three guys that have been 2:03, Jeff Zita (Hope), Dylan Shearer (Kalamazoo) and Jake Lindquist (Kalamazoo).
Women:
I’d say Jorgie Watson (Hope) and Lexi Scott (Calvin) are a step above the rest of the conference in this event at 2:23.65 and 2:24.28, respectively. They are both over three seconds faster than the next fastest swimmer.

200 Fly
Men:
Another duel between Brett Stoughton (Calvin) and Tyler Fisher (Kalamazoo). Both have been 1:52, Fisher in 2013 and Stoughton last year at NCAAs. Either one could take the crown.
Women:
This will be a huge comeback year for Colleen Orwin. Her time from mid-season last year, 2:07.94, would have the event at the conference meet. I see her bettering her time from last season and winning the event.

400 Free Relay
Men:
I like Albion here, returning two of four from last years relay. However, with the loss of Fiorillo, a NCAA cut may be a stretch. Calvin is returning three of four. Likely adding Mitchell Schroder in place of Andrew Mitchell. I like K in 3rd, Hope lost too much to crack the top 3.
Women:
Calvin loses some studs on this relay, that makes Hope the clear favorite. Depending on the development of Calvin’s freshmen, Kalamazoo could make a run for second as they return their whole relay.

Diving
I would think Will Guedes (Kalamazoo) doesn’t miss a beat and takes the title on both boards. In second place will be Elliot Littman (Kalamazoo). To be honest I’m not too familiar with the MIAA diving landscape, so this is about all the insight I have.

Predicted Finish:

Men’s Rankings
1.Calvin
2.Kalamazoo
3.Hope
4.Albion
5.Alma
6.Olivet

Women’s Rankings
1. Calvin
2. Hope
3. Kalamazoo
4. Albion
5. Alma
6. Olivet

-Jay Daniels

d3swimming analyst
Kalamazoo College ’13
New Paltz assistant coach
@NPHawksSwimming

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