NCAA Division II Meet of the Week: GLIAC Powers Collide at Calvin

Northern Michigan heads to the Calvin University Invitational this week. Photo Courtesy: Northern Michigan Athletics

The parade of college swimming invitationals continues this week, but they aren’t all Division I meets. One of the most intriguing meets involves some of the top NCAA Division II teams and one of the top Division III perennial powers all in one meet in West Michigan at the Calvin University Invitational, this week’s Division II Meet of the Week.

Northern Michigan, Grand Valley State, Findlay are the Division II teams at the meet as well as Calvin, and fellow Division III school Kalamazoo College. The meet is Dec. 5-7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at Calvin’s Venema Aquatic Center.

With four of the five schools from the state of Michigan and Findlay not to far into Ohio, there are plenty of familiar faces at a meet like this. Former high school teammates might be facing each other for the first time. High school rivalries could be renewed at the collegiate level.

The GVSU men are ranked No. 10 and Northern Michigan is No. 11 in the latest NCAA Division II poll by the CSCAA. The Northern Michigan women are No. 11 and GVSU is No. 13. Findlay is an honorable mention on the women’s side.

Meanwhile, Calvin is ranked No. 15 in the men’s poll and No. 17 in the women’s poll adding to the NCAA Division II Meet of the Week, despite being a Division III team.

The GVSU men are coming off of an impressive victory over Ball State, a Division I program. The Lakers were led by Ahmed Nabih won the 100 breast (57.58) and 200 breaststroke (2:07.06), swam the breaststroke leg on the first-place finishing 200 medley relay (1:34.45) and finished second in the 400 IM (4:17.89).

Nabih was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Week from his performance.

The Lakers also snagged the women’s GLIAC Swimmer of the Week honor for the meet with Neta Shiff, who secured three first-place finishes on the day, touching the wall first in the 1000 freestyle (10:28.89), 500 free (5:10.41) and 400 IM (4:38.27). Shiff currently ranks fourth nationally in the 1000 free (10:20.45) and 17th in the 500 free (5:06.38).

Northern Michigan is also in the GLIAC, so this will be a mini preview of what could happen at the GLIAC Championships.

The Wildcats had the Swimmer of the Week, one week earlier as Ondrej Zach won three events in a meet with University of Stevens Point. He first took the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:41.61. He then swam the 200-yard butterfly in 1:56.09 to take first as well. The junior finished his day by posting a winning time of 4:43.38 to take the 500-yard freestyle.

Host Calvin is coming off of a huge rivalry victory over Hope College.

Junior Julian Iturbe (Caracas, Venezuela) had a big meet, winning the 1000 freestyle (9:58.16), 100 freestyle (46.22) and 500 freestyle (4:46.26).

For the Calvin women, the Knights made their mark in the sprints and butterfly. The Knights also took the top three spots in the 100 butterfly with junior Jenna Oezer winning in 59.08 with Emily Gunderson second (59.18) and Anna Weber third (1:00.30). Gunderson also won the 50 free (24.41).

Add all of those layers and that is why it is the NCAA Division II Meet of the Week.

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