News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

March 10, 2014

Another Rose freshman making big splash

Women’s swimmer Hong joins men’s sophomore Martin at Division III championships

TERRE HAUTE — The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships.

So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do?

Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.

Now that female freshman — Ellie Hong of Dayton — will join the standout male — sophomore Orion Martin of Dublin, Ohio — in representing the Engineers in the 2014 Division III championships March 19-22 at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Hong, 18, will compete in the 200-yard backstroke (seeded ninth), 100-yard backstroke (seeded 20th) and 50-yard freestyle (seeded 36th).

“My goal is to make the championship heat [top eight] in the 200 backstroke,” Hong told the Tribune-Star recently.

Rose-Hulman coach Keith Crawford thinks that is reasonable.

“Her biggest goal is she’d like to break two minutes in the 200 backstroke,” he said. “If she does that, it gives her a chance of making the championship final.”

Meanwhile, Martin will return to the D-III championships in the 100 butterfly (seeded ninth), 50 freestyle (seeded 48th) and 100 freestyle (seeded 52nd). Last season, he placed 17th in the 100 butterfly.

“He’s had another very good year,” Crawford noted, adding that Martin broke school records in the 200 freestyle and 800 free relay (with help from his teammates) this season.

“The biggest thing that’s been different with him is we’ve done a little bit more with the 200 freestyle than we did his freshman year. He still repeated as [College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin] champ in the 100 butterfly.”

Crawford believes a lifetime best from Martin in the 100 butterfly would put him in the top eight in Indianapolis.

As for Hong, Crawford described her decision to come to Rose in the fall of 2013 as “a pretty similar situation” to Martin.

“The biggest thing that piqued her interest in Rose-Hulman was the academic reputation of the school,” the Engineers’ coach explained. “She felt Rose was a great balance [of academics and athletics] for her.”

Hong agreed with his assessment.

“I came to Rose-Hulman because I was interested in engineering throughout high school,” she mentioned. “And one of my older brothers [Isaac] had looked at Rose-Hulman about five years ago and he had good things to say about it. I visited [as a junior in high school] … and I really liked the school.”

Crawford’s coaching style also contributed to her college choice.

“I wanted a school that was a little more laid-back in swimming,” she admitted, “so Rose-Hulman fit every aspect of what I wanted.”

So far, so good, she said.

“I love it,” insisted Hong, a mechanical-engineering major carrying a 3.18 cumulative grade-point average. “The academics are challenging, but I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot. I definitely feel like I chose the right school.”

Crawford said another similarity between Hong and Martin as freshmen is Hong beating all the Purdue women in the 200 backstroke in an October meet, just as Martin had beaten all the Purdue men in the 100 butterfly one year earlier.

“From the first time that we got her in the water [in late September], I knew she was going to make a significant difference in our program,” Crawford emphasized.

That she has done, establishing four individual school records and helping the Engineers establish four relay school records before her first season is even completed.

Hong acknowledged that she’s a little surprised by how much success she’s enjoyed in the pool as a freshman.

But just a little.

“I knew coming in that I was going to break a few records,” she assessed. “But I didn’t really expect it to be this big.”

Even though Hong is one of the tallest female athletes walking around the Rose campus (6 feet, 1 inch), she’s always preferred swimming over other sports where height is considered more of an advantage.

Hong started swimming seriously when she was 10, competing for the Kettering City Swim Team as a youth.

“I started doing well after about a year,” she recalled.

At age 13 or 14, Hong realized she might be able to keep swimming at the collegiate level in a few years. As a sophomore for Oakwood High School, she placed fourth in the 100 backstroke in the Ohio Division II girls state finals.

Now she’s aiming higher than fourth.

It may or may not happen this year, but Hong said she eventually wants to capture an NCAA Division III championship before she leaves Terre Haute.

“I just have to do more cross training with weightlifting and other stuff outside of the water,” she stressed.

“I definitely think she’s capable of [winning an NCAA title],” Crawford said. “I don’t feel like that’s an unrealistic goal.

“She’s long and tall and lean. She’s a very good student of the sport. She does a good job of analyzing what she does well and what she needs to work on.”

Hong is the first female national qualifier in Rose-Hulman swimming history.

 

 

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