Replacing Grizzlies’ Liberal Arts meet, HCAC Championships will be one of smallest in nation
The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete in the first Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championship this season.
In previous seasons, the Grizzlies have competed in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, Ohio Athletic Conference and most recently in the Liberal Arts Swimming Conference.
Andrew Hendricks, head swimming and diving coach, said the change from the Liberal Arts Conference to the HCAC Championships is monumental.
“Last year we’re coming off a championship for both teams,” Hendricks said. “It was a big deal for us to sweep the championships at the Liberal Arts meet, and it was a lot of great competition.”
The Grizzlies join Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Anderson University, Transylvania University and Manchester University as the only teams competing in the championship this season. This will make the HCAC one of the smallest conferences for swimming and diving in the country.
Hendricks said the teams will have to adjust to moving from a conference with more than 300 athletes to the HCAC championships, where there will be 150 athletes total.
“Ironically, even though the meet is going to be smaller, it’s actually going to be faster at the upper end with Franklin and Rose Hulman in particular,” Hendricks said.
He added that no matter when, where or who the competition is, his job is to give the athletes the best competitive experience possible, encourage them to do the best as they can and win another championship.
“With swimming and diving joining the HCAC, I think it provides some good competition,” sophomore swimmer Zach Rayce said. “It also keeps our team closer to Franklin for our championship meet. Our major goal as a team is to win the first HCAC championship.”
The women’s team shares the goal of winning the HCAC championship.
“The girls team wants to be undefeated this year,” sophomore swimmer Cady Mehringer said. “We got really close last year, and I think that frustrated us a little. Franklin swimming is still on the up and coming, and for us to go undefeated will really put us on the map even more.”
The HCAC championships will take place at the Vigo County Aquatic Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, next February.
“A win would continue to set the tone that all athletics at Franklin can be successful regardless of how long they have been established,” Hendricks said.