ROCHESTER, Mich. – Nine Golden Grizzlies are set to compete at the 2016 Michigan Open held at the Oakland Aquatic Center Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14.
PARTICIPANTS: Oakland’s Bethany Abramczyk, Nicole Cordero, Paul Huch, Kyle Larson, Steve Neill, Hannah Oswald, Zach Rentner, Katherine Scott, and Kelsey Stark will compete for the last remaining spot on the men’s and women’s championship teams.
CHAMPIONSHIPS APPROACH: On Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Saturday Feb. 27, the 2016 Horizon League Swimming and Diving Championships will take place at the Oakland Aquatic Center. Tickets are now on sale through the Oakland Athletics Ticket Office.
BRAINS AND BRAWN: The Oakland men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were both selected to the 2015 College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-America team on Jan. 27. The men’s team finished the fall semester with a team grade-point average of 3.36 ranking 14th among Division I teams in the nation and the women’s team boasted a 3.53 team GPA good for 22nd.
MORREN MAKES HISTORY: Holly Morren had a historic swim in the 100-yard freestyle on Dec. 6 at the Zippy Invitational when she swam a Horizon League record time of 49.82, becoming the first woman in conference history to swim under 50 seconds in a 100 free. The time was also a school record and NCAA ‘B’ qualifying time.
ZIPPING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: The Golden Grizzlies combined to break 14 records last month at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio as the men’s team took first place and the women finished runner-up. Freshman Devon Nowicki broke a record in every swim he competed in, totaling 10 records in three days including a school record in the 100 breaststroke (53.15).
LIVING LIKE ISLANDERS: The Oakland men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams took a break from competition for over a month. During that time, the team traveled down to Puerto Rico for 10 days for their annual training trip. Outside of training, the teams stayed at a beachside hotel and took a day off to cliff dive.
TAKE A BOW: Six Golden Grizzlies have earned weekly honors this season as Stirling Fordham earned Horizon League Male Diver of the Week twice on Oct. 20 and Dec. 8, while teammate Joe Smith also won diver of the week twice on Nov. 17 and Jan. 26. Patricia Aschan earned Horizon League Female Swimmer of the Week twice on Nov. 17 and Jan. 12 while also being named CollegeSwimming.com’s Conference Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 12. Devon Nowicki was named the league's male swimmer of the week on Dec. 8, and Nikki Flynn was twice named CollegeSwimming.com’s Conference Swimmer of the Week on Nov. 10 and Dec 8. Tuomas Kiviluoma was named male swimmer of the week on Jan. 26 also.
NEW ADDITIONS: Oakland announced on Nov. 30 the addition of nine student-athletes during the fall signing period. The men's squad will add distance freestyler Micah DeJonge to the 2016-17 class, and the women's team will have eight newcomers for next season, those being swimmers Kirstyn Abbasse, Katherine Colwell, Rileigh Eding, Sara Heines, Amanda Hudson, Grace Shinske, and divers Angelique Wise and Sarah Stine.
DEFENDING THEIR TITLE: The Golden Grizzlies begin their title defense returning a number of key contributors including Horizon League Female Swimmer of the Year Aschan, last year’s conference champion in the 200 and 400-yard IM and 200 butterfly. The women also return reigning conference champions Flynn (100 and 200 freestyle) and Takara Martin (100 and 200 breaststroke).
The men return Horizon League champions John Schihl (100 and 200 breast), Alters (200 fly), Kiviluoma (100 free) and Jeremiah Morren (50 free). Fordham returns for his sophomore season after placing third on the 1-meter board and sixth on the 3-meter board last year at the Horizon League Championships.
HOVALND'S RESUME: Pete Hovland returns for his 37th year as Oakland’s head coach accumulating 37 consecutive conference championships, four NCAA Division II National Championships and 54 individual national champions on the men’s team and 21 straight conference titles for the women. Hovland has been named a conference coach of the year 23 times, including the Horizon League Men's and Women's Swimming Coach of the Year in 2015.