Controversial disqualification costs GVSU men’s swimming, diving GLIAC Championship

GVL/Bo Anderson

Elle Ryan competes against Indianapolis on Saturday

Bo Anderson

GVL/Bo Anderson Elle Ryan competes against Indianapolis on Saturday

Jay Bushen

Following the 2013 GLIAC Championships, all that stood between the Grand Valley State University men’s swimming and diving team and a conference title was a tough call from GLIAC officials over the weekend.

Wayne State University (780 points) took home the 2013 GLIAC Championships for the third straight year, while GVSU (763.5 points) placed second after a controversial call on the third day of competition got the team disqualified for what GLIAC officials said was the sighting of a GVSU swimmer leaving early in the men’s 200-meter freestyle relay, costing the team 32 points, though GVSU team members and coaches still dispute the claim.

“We deserved the win,” said junior Michael Griffith. “We’re not mad at anyone, just upset with the way it happened. Wayne State had it handed to them on a golden platter.”

Griffith finished in the top three of all seven events he competed in. He touched first in the 100 fly with an NCAA DII B cut time of 48.75 seconds, and swam a leg on three first-place relays.

He and teammates juniors Erik Aakesson and Aaron Marken and freshman Gianni Ferrero placed first in the 200 medley relay with an A cut time of 1:28.31, setting a new GLIAC Championship and GVSU varsity record in the process.

GVSU’s relay teams looked strong all week, adding two more “B” cut times in the pair of victories.

Griffith, Ferrero, Marken and sophomore Milan Medo touched first in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:16.58, and notched another victory when Griffith, Ferrero, Medo and senior Derek Mead won the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:01.11.

“We put our best foot forward and gave them everything we could,” said GVSU head coach Andy Boyce, who was part of a three-way tie for the Dewey Newsome GLIAC Men’s Coach of the Year. “We expected it to be a very challenging meet and it was. The (GLIAC) is probably the fastest Division II conference in the nation. I’m very proud of both teams.”

On the women’s side, the Lakers could not keep up with the reigning NCAA national champions.

Wayne State (861.5 points) dominated the competition, giving the Warriors their fourth conference title in as many seasons. GVSU finished fourth behind the University of Indianapolis (554.5 points) and Northern Michigan University (512 points), posting 465.5 points.

GVSU had finished in first or second place for eight straight seasons.

“We’re going to learn from this one,” said junior Caitlyn Madsen. “It was a tough meet. We didn’t expect Northern and Indianapolis to have so many stars this year. It was a bummer to finish fourth this year after being second for so long.”

Madsen was the lone individual event winner for GVSU, capturing a victory in the 200 fly with a B cut time of 2:03.32. She also broke her own school record in the 100 fly, when she touched second with another “B” cut time of 55.85.

The NCAA Division II National Championships will be from Mar. 6-9 in Birmingham, Ala.

Boyce said the exact number of student athletes competing at nationals is yet to be determined.