Swimmers and divers stress focus during finals

Rebecca Morstad

The women’s swimming and diving team is set to compete at the Calvin College Invitational.

The Invitational will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. and will continue at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 and Sunday, Nov. 7.

NMU sophomore Sam Clemence, center, earned her first letter last season after competing at the Calvin Invitational and Border Battle Invitational. (Anthony Viola/NW)
NMU sophomore Sam Clemence, center, earned her first letter last season after competing at the Calvin Invitational and Border Battle Invitational. (Anthony Viola/NW)

Other teams to compete include Grand Valley, Valparaiso, Calvin College, Findlay, Kalamazoo and Tiffin.  GVSU ranked in the top five teams in the nation this past month and Valparaiso is a Division I school.

Wildcat head coach Heidi Voigt said this invite will be very important for NMU.

“[GVSU] will be our biggest competition,” Voigt said. “They are very strong this year.”

According to Voigt, junior Molly Kearney leads the team in diving. Kearney was named the team’s MVP last season and was awarded the NMU Female Athlete of the Year award. According to NMU Press Box, she was named All-American for her third place finish in the 1-meter dive and sixth in the 3-meter dive in the 2013 NCAA Championships.

Voigt said junior Debbi Lawrence is seeded first in two events.

The NMU Press Box lists Lawrence as a member of the GLIAC Championship fourth place 400-yard and 800-yard relay squads last season. She was also in the fourth place 400-yard medley relay team that broke a school record with a time of 3:49.01.

Voigt said the relay teams will be very important this weekend.

“This is an important competition for us to see where we are at with our racing,” Voigt said. “Our relays will be key. We will rest and sharpen up our techniques the next few days.”

Sophomore Crystal Bennet was named team Newcomer of the Year last season. Bennet was also part of the fourth place relay teams. Last season, according to NMU Press Box, she took first in the 100-yard butterfly with a new school record of 55.57 and qualified for the NCAA Championships to place ninth in the 100-yard butterfly. Bennet is seeded in the top five in three events.

Junior Madisen Sechena is top seed in the 200-yard breaststroke and second in the 400-yard IM.

NMU Press Box lists Sechena as last season’s GLIAC champion in the 400-yard IM with a time of 4:27.61 for a new school record. Sechena also placed first in the 200-yard IM and was a member of the school record breaking fourth place medley relay team. She qualified for the NCAA Championships, finishing seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke and was named an All-American.

Voigt said junior Jordan Iverson is ranked first in the 400-yard IM this weekend. At last season’s Calvin Invitational, NMU Press Box lists Iverson as the first-place finisher in the 400-yard IM. She captured both the pool and meet record with a time of 4:31.52. NMU returns to the pool this weekend after two weeks off.

Junior Megan Crowder, who earned her first letter in swimming last season, said the team is putting forth effort to keep the focus this time of year.

“We are practicing a lot and doing some resting for this weekend,” Crowder said. “It is a stressful time with finals coming up, so we are focusing on swimming and only swimming when we are in the pool. We’re keeping our heads in the game.”