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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Highly ranked GV men’s, undefeated women’s swim and dive dominate dual meets finale

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

The Grand Valley State University Lakers No. 4 ranked men’s and the No. 6 ranked women’s swimming and diving teams continued their dominance with sweeps over the Davenport University Panthers and the Findlay University Oilers. The women finished an undefeated 10-0 for the first time ever and the men ended 9-1 in dual meets.

The Lakers celebrated senior night at the GVSU Fieldhouse Pool by honoring 13 seniors, six men and seven women, before taking on the Panthers in their final home dual meet of the season. The GVSU men went on to win 196-44 and the women won by a score of 186-56, breaking a combined 10 pool records on senior night in their last weekend of competition before preparing for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)  and NCAA Championships.

Senior Roger Miret Sala broke the 100 meter backstroke pool record against Davenport, with a time of 48.59. Miret Sala, a native of Cleida, Spain, is a team captain in his fifth year with the program.

According to Lakers’ standout freshman Andrew Goh, Miret Sala is the senior who he is going to miss the most.

“One of those seniors who I actually bond with really well was Roger (Miret Sala) who is one of our captains. He’s one of the seniors who reached out to me before I committed and he helped me through the whole process of committing,” Goh said. “I really owe a lot of thanks to him, but I’m really sad to see him graduate. Roger is a really, really big mentor for me.”

A native of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Goh is also an international student. His father had previously come to the United States to study and wanted his son to share the same experience. When Goh had begun the process of looking for schools to attend, his swimming teammates from back home in Malaysia, who also swam in the GLIAC, influenced his decision. After applying to several universities in the conference, GVSU’s coaching staff and facilities stood out to him. Goh became one of the contributing swimmers in breaking the pool record for the GVSU men’s 400 meter medley relay against the Panthers, which was set by a time of 3:16:02 in just his first season.

There is also another highly successful young swimmer on the women’s team that is coming into their own for the Lakers. Sophomore Katie O’Connell, a native of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, is the reigning GLIAC Champion in the 400 meter individual medley and is looking to defend her title next month.

“I think we have a lot of confidence going into the championship season because we’ve had such a great undefeated season,” O’Connell said. “I’m just hoping to make that final push these next few weeks and have a good time. I feel like that’s what the conference and national meet is all about because we work so hard the whole season and it’s just about showing off and having a lot of fun.”

After beating Findlay 166-68 in the men’s division and 156-78 in the women’s, spirits were high for Lakers’ head coach Andy Boyce, who is in his eighteenth year with the program.

Boyce led GVSU to their first-ever win over an NCAA Division I opponent, Oakland University, in both men’s and women’s categories earlier this season. 

The Lakers dominance has been evident against almost every opponent in the dual meets, dropping just a single competition on the men’s side earlier this season. It was a narrow five-point loss to the defending national champions and No. 1 ranked Indianapolis University.

Now, Boyce is looking ahead to the GLIAC Championships. His men’s squad will attempt to earn their tenth-straight first place finish in conference play, as the women will try to finish in first place in back-to-back years for the first time under Boyce. 

With the competition running from Friday, Feb. 9 through Monday, Feb. 12, the GLIAC Championships will be held at the Holland Aquatic Center in Holland, Michigan, at a time to be announced. The Lakers will travel back and forth from Allendale, Michigan every day for the competition, a 30-minute drive.

Although making the drive for four straight days is not ideal, Boyce believes that the ability for his team to sleep in their own beds will be a big advantage.

“It makes a difference being so close and we’re familiar with the facility,” O’Connell said. “We even did a practice there around the New Year, this year, just to get a little bit more familiar with the facility for the freshmen. It ‘s nice to have that phenomenal facility in our backyard.”

After competing for a conference title, Boyce expects to send some players to the NCAA Division II National Championships.

“The more people we send to nationals, the higher we’re gonna finish up the national championships,” Boyce said. “It’s tough to get them there, but I think we’ll have a solid group this year at the National Championships.”

With just the GLIAC and NCAA championships left before those 13 seniors finish their careers, the Lakers are looking forward to competing as a group for the last couple of times.

“We just really want to enjoy these last few meets as a team because we really are just like one big family,” O’Connell said. “We just work for each other and we’re happy for each other’s successes. I feel like I had a lot of good role models these past two years and people that I’ve looked up to.”

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism