Jan. 23. THE Flying Dutchwomen made history Tuesday in posting a 102-96 MIAA dual meet victory over Saint Mary's College. The victory extended the longest winning streak in Hope athletic history in any sport to 48 in-a-row against conference opponents covering the last eight seasons.
The previous record was also in women's swimming, a streak of 47 consecutive MIAA dual meets from 1984 to 1992. Over the past 17 seasons under coach John Patnott, the Dutch are 95-1 in conference duals.
The meet was not as close as the final score might indicate. Hope led 102-62 when coach Patnott designated the remaining Hope entries as exhibitions.
One of those was senior Betsy VandenBerg who established a pool record in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.56). It was just two-hundredths of a second off her career best time. VandenBerg, who is the only senior on the Hope team this year, was honored for
her athletic and academic achievements prior to the start of the meet.
The Dutch, who are 5-0 in the MIAA and 5-1 overall, had three double winners. Sophomore Erin VandenBerg won the 1,000 freestyle (11:04.42) and 500 freestyle
(5:22.68); freshman Michelle Smith, 200 individual medley (2:17.38) and 100 backstroke (1:05.15); and freshman diver Hannah Rapson, one-meter (233.95) and
three-meter (234.95) boards.
The Flying Dutch will conclude their dual meet season at Calvin Saturday against a Lady Knights team that is also undefeated in league duals and poses a serious challenge to Hope's long winning streak.