Women swim and dive gets edge with home-pool advantage

Courtesy Photo / gvsulakers.com
GVSU Junior Carly Bush

Courtesy Photo / gvsulakers.com GVSU Junior Carly Bush

Kevin VanAntwerpen

The Lakers are undoubtedly the most comfortable of the nine swim and dive teams competing at this year’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference. That is because, while most teams have to travel long distances, this year’s GLIAC tournament is being held at Jenison High School, a mere 5.5 miles away from the Grand Valley State University Allendale Campus.

“It’s always nice when you don’t have to travel,” said GVSU head coach Andy Boyce. “You can just relax in a comfortable space.”

The GLIAC tournament began Wednesday afternoon and will continue into Saturday evening. Junior swimmer Carly Bush said the remaining rest is especially important during such a long meet.

“After a while into the week, we get knots in our shoulders,” she said. “So we’re really trying to get enough rest and to avoid getting sore. It’s a huge blessing that we can go back and sleep in own beds and eat home-cooked meals. It’s a huge advantage to be in a comfortable environment.”

After taking second place in last year’s GLIAC tournament, the women’s swimming and diving team hopes the home field advantage and a strong freshman lineup will help it break through to first place this year.

“Last year we were second in the conference,” Boyce said. “We graduated a few girls, but mostly we’re stronger than ever. We’ve added real depth to our freshman class. It’s an extremely competitive conference, and it’s going to come down to the wire.”

Boyce noted several additions to the freshman class from whom he expects to see strong results – breast stroke and free stroke swimmer Danielle Vallier, fly swimmer Caitlyn Madsen, and divers Katie Vulpetti and Jennifer Root.

The women’s team has been in top form so far this year. Of the four conference meets in which it has swim, only one ended in defeat – a five-point loss against Wayne State University that came down to the final relay.

Regardless of hopes and expectations, Bush insisted that meets as long and intense as the GLIAC tournament are always unpredictable, and instead of worrying about the future, the team simply focuses on making the best of the opportunity.

“We’re just going to go out there and have fun with it,” she said. “Everyone’s feeling really good in the pool right now. We’re looking to go out strong and find out what we’re capable of. You can never predict a meet like this. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

If the GVSU women win the conference championship, it would be the second conference title in program history.

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