MISHAWAKA—The 2020-21 season for the swimming and diving team was a rocky road. The team joined the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference in June, dropped its first three meets, won the next three, competed at the KCAC Championships from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6 and then received the news that the NAIA Championships have been cancelled.
Although the season brought its fair share of obstacles, the Bethel Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams finished fourth in their conference championships.
“First off, I am very happy that we were able to compete,” Head Coach Deb Thompson said. “Many schools were unable to even have a season. And despite our national meet being canceled it was nice to finish off the season so well at our conference meet.”
The Pilots were able to bring home one conference champion in Paula Ronda Bou in the 200m Fly stroke. They also had six second-place finishes, thirteen third-place finishes and thirty-four top-eight placements. Overall, the Pilots were able to finish in fourth place, which was better than many expected for the newly formed Swimming and Diving program.
“It was a nice team effort at the KCAC Championships,” Thompson said. “We were able to have our first ever conference champion, as well as many other great performances from the team. It was also nice to crack the top of this conference, there are a handful of teams that are very quick and it was nice to have a conference champion.”
While the Pilots were on their way to the KCAC Championships, they received news that the NAIA Championships were canceled, meaning that this would be the Pilots’ last opportunity to swim this season.
“We heard on our bus to the conference meet that nationals were canceled,” Thompson said. “I told the team on the bus that they were canceled. But we put a positive spin on the decision by knowing we are ready to compete at the conference meet, and that we needed to perform.”
Heading into next season the Pilots, who are still very young, will only graduate one senior, Alfonso Flores. Flores transferred in from Iowa Central Community College when the Swimming and Diving program was formed. He will graduate in the spring with a degree in engineering and management. He was also named a KCAC Champion of Character. The recipients of this award show five values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
“It will be huge to bring back almost our entire roster,” Thompson said. “The next two years will be huge for our program, and I am excited to see where our inaugural class can take us.”
For more information on the Bethel Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team visit www.bupilots.com.