GVSU Swim and dive takes aim at Wayne State

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Jay Bushen

If the Grand Valley State University swim and dive teams hope to win a GLIAC crown in 2013, they’ll have to swim past their cross-state rivals.

The GVSU swim and dive teams will host a crucial home meet Jan. 12 against Wayne State University before finishing the regular season at home versus University of Indianapolis on Jan. 19.

“We’ve got some big rivalries coming up that we are really excited for,” said head coach Andy Boyce. “We’ve been battling back and forth with Wayne State for years.”

Wayne State currently sits atop the men’s and women’s standings a year after winning both GLIAC championships last year. Their women’s team went on to win at nationals.

Danielle Vallier, a junior on GVSU’s women’s squad, said having the reigning champions in the GLIAC serves as motivation for the rest of the team.

“It was an eye-opener to see them win the national championship last year,” Vallier said. “It made us realize that we are capable of doing it too. We know we have fast teams in our conference, and that pushes us to get better.”

Boyce said that there is little room for error in the highly contested GLIAC.

“This is probably the toughest conference in the nation,” Boyce said. “We had four teams ranked near the top of the national rankings last year. It’s extremely competitive.”

The men’s squad is gaining momentum after a pair of wins on the road against Nova Southeastern (137-61) and Findlay (242-36). They hope that they can carry this momentum throughout the rest of the year.

“We’re feeling a lot more confident after these last few swimming trips,” said junior Michael Griffith. “We look forward to showing everyone that we can be the No. 1 team in the conference.”

The Lakers received a boost from freshman newcomer Gianni Ferrero, who recently transferred to GVSU from Idstein, Germany.

“We had high expectations for Gianni,” Griffith said, “He has lived up to them. He’s quickly become a top gun on our team.”

Ferrero notched a pair of NCAA B cut times in his first meet against Nova Southeastern, followed by a pair of individual victories at Findlay. He was named the GLIAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week, along with GVSU senior Jasmine Ramahi for the women’s.

Both GVSU teams were ranked No. 12 in the CollegeSwimming.com/CSCAA coaches poll, and the Lakers expect to improve following a six day training period during winter break in Miami, Fla.

“I’m excited to see how the training pays off during the conference championships,” Vallier said. “We just need to stay focused on the little things, which can help us win more races and improve our times.”

Boyce said the teams will need to be well rested if they hope to have success in the postseason.

“We’ll start to rest a bit more after Wayne State and Indianapolis,” Boyce said. “Hopefully we can stay healthy and get some tremendous performances in the conference championships. We’re going to try to break some pool records.”

The men’s and women’s teams will welcome Wayne State on Jan. 12 and Indianapolis on Jan. 19. Both events start at 1 p.m. in the Fieldhouse Arena located on the Allendale Campus.
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