The Cardinal swim and dive teams finished their 2019 season with the conclusion of the GLIAC Championships and the NCAA Division II Swim and Dive Championships.
The 2019 season was quite successful for SVSU and showed promise for upcoming seasons with several returning athletes competing well throughout.
Head coach Bruce Zimmerman was pleased with the Cardinals’ success this season.
“I thought as a whole, we had a pretty good season,” Zimmerman said. “It started out really well. For the fifth consecutive year for the women, we had a winning dual meet record, and for the fourth consecutive year for the men, we had a winning dual meet record. Since the start of the program, we have not had a losing record when it comes down to our regular season dual meets.”
Both the men and women had perfect seasons through October, defeating Alma, Kalamazoo and Findlay in three straight meets before falling to Northern Michigan and Grand Valley in early November. The Cardinal squads rebounded with victories over Valparaiso and Davenport a week later.
Both Cardinal teams competed well at the three-day invitational at Wabash College to wrap up the fall semester.
The men claimed first place among six teams, and the women finished second among seven teams.
The men and women suffered losses in January against Wayne State, but the women bounced back with a victory over Hillsdale College for their final regular season meet. The men swam without competition that weekend due to inclement weather.
The men and women claimed sixth and fourth place, respectively, at the 2019 GLIAC Championships at Cleveland State University.
Zimmerman discussed the many personal best times that came during this meet.
“We turned in 84 either season or career-best times and had two people qualify for the NCAA Championships,” he said.
Senior Amanda Thielen and sophomore Elizabeth Caird were the Cardinals who competed in the NCAA Division II Championships.
Thielen finished 30th in the preliminary round of the 100-yard backstroke as well as 24th in the preliminary round of the 200yard backstroke.
Caird claimed 15th place in the 1-meter dive preliminaries and 19th place in the 3-meter dive preliminaries. She earned honorable mention All-American honors for her 1-meter dive finish.
Zimmerman praised the Cardinals’ consistency in competing at the National Championship.
“This is the fifth consecutive year that we’ve had a representative at the National Championship,” Zimmerman said. “So every year that our team has been in existence, we’ve had someone competing at the National Championship.”
Zimmerman also highlighted his expectations for the upcoming seasons.
“Every year, we’re looking for improvement,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve got a very large freshman class, especially on the men’s team. With more years’ experience under their belt, we expect them to be better and even more committed – they were very committed this year in the training program, and I expect to see substantial improvements out of that group as they progress into their sophomore years.”
Zimmerman is looking forward to the upcoming freshmen and the talent they bring.
“We’ve got a solid incoming freshman class that we’re recruiting so far, and recruiting is still under way,” Zimmerman said.
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