FRANKLIN, Ind. – Coming off the most successful season in program history, the Franklin College women's swimming and diving team enters the program's 10th season looking to replicate that success, starting this weekend when they open competition.
The Grizzlies went unbeaten in dual meets, invitationals and championships one year ago, which included a win at the inaugural Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Championships followed by a win at the season-ending Liberal Arts Championships. Over the last five seasons, the Franklin women are a staggering 53-3-1 in dual meets, the best record of any Indiana collegiate swimming program during that time.
This year's version of the Grizzlies will look a lot like last year's team that had so much success. The Grizzlies feature a program with only two seniors and a deep group of returners and newcomers that give the Grizzlies plenty of bodies to deploy in the water this year.
"We lost a senior class that did some amazing things during their four years at Franklin," Head coach Andrew Hendricks said. "We knew it would tough to replace what they meant to our program, we feel like we have some accomplished swimmers ready to step into those spots and a group of freshmen ready to make an immediate impact."
Sophomore Brynna Sentel was the top point-scorer for the Grizzlies in 2017-18, winning three Liberal Arts titles, taking part in four conference-winning relays and being named the Liberal Arts Conference Female Swimmer of the Year. She's joined by HCAC individual champions in sophomores Jessica Halsmer and Courtnee Coffman as well as Olivia Walther, Ashley Snoke, Jacqueline Richard, Elizabeth Colliver, Cady Mehringer and Natalie Hollensead to give Franklin a deep group of sprinters.
Mackenzie Dwyer and Allyson Carroll head up the Grizzlies' group of distance swimmers this year. Freshmen Anna Perkins, Brooke Haflich and Rylee Elder join the fold this year, giving the Grizzlies more options to use in various events and relays.
On the boards, the Grizzly women welcome back NCAA Regional Diving qualifier Lexi Blackburn back for her sophomore campaign. The Stilesville, Ind.-native was brilliant in her first season with the blue and gold, winning HCAC Diver of the Year and collecting conference championships on the 1- and 3-meter boards while setting a new conference record for 11 dives on the three-meter board with 467 points at the HCAC championships.
The Grizzlies begin their quest for a second straight conference championship on Saturday, Oct. 20, when they head to Crawfordsville, Ind. for the DIII State Meet. Competition begins at 10:00 a.m.