Men finish 7th at national championships

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
Member of the Grand Valley mens swimming team swims during Februarys GLIAC Championships

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter Member of the Grand Valley mens swimming team swims during February’s GLIAC Championships

Zach Sepanik

It is said that everything is bigger in Texas. For the Grand Valley State University men’s swim and dive team, it did not get any bigger than competing in the National Championships in San Antonio over Spring Break.

GVSU head coach Andy Boyce was pleased with the performance of the teams’ 13 qualifiers over the four-day National Championships at the Palo Alto College Natatorium as the Lakers finished with 211.5 points, just 1.5 points behind sixth-place University of Bridgeport.

“We were thinking we could fall anywhere in the top 10,” Boyce said. “Some of the guys haven’t rested since December and in preparation for the National Championships, so we were able to cut back on the yardage in practice. They really came out well and set numerous school records, and it was a tremendous performance. We are really happy with our finish.”

Drury University took home the National Championship, its seventh straight and eighth in nine years.

“I am extremely proud of our guys,” said senior swimmer Justin Pattermann. “Our relays came up big, and it was really a team effort. Drury University was the clear favorite going in, and along with University of California-San Diego, who finished second, they had some guys who swam really well for them.”

On day one, Pattermann led the Lakers with a 15th-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1 minute 53.36 seconds.

“It means a lot to place in the top 15 of an event because it is the best of the best,” Pattermann said.

Junior swimmer Aaron Beebe led the way for the Lakers on day two with a second-place finish and school-record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 48.01.

Beebe led the charge again on day three with strong individual and relay performances. He finished second in the 200-yard butterfly in a school-record time of 1:45.07 and also swam the final leg in the Lakers’ 800-yard freestyle relay team, which touched second and finished with a school-record of 6:38.29.

“In the 200-yard butterfly race, all three top swimmers were under the pool record and the winner was under the national record, which was held by an Olympian,” Boyce said. “Beebe finishing in second, breaking our school record by over a second, was a great finish to his season.”

On the final day, senior swimmer Jordan Schrotenboer got his own share of the spotlight by notching a third-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:47.94.

“I had probably the best meet of my college career,” Schrotenboer said. “I had my first ever top-eight finish at nationals in an individual event. I am very happy with capping off my career here and how I did.”

For Pattermann and Schrotenboer, a top-10 overall finish, the third in as many years for GVSU, felt pretty good.

“It’s an odd feeling,” Schrotenboer said. “I don’t know if it has sunk in yet that I am done with college swimming. I am very happy that this is the way I went out though.”

Boyce added that most of the team will be back next year.

“We had six freshmen out of our 13 national qualifiers, and this is a huge experience for them,” he said. “They will be motivated to qualify again and tell all their teammates about it.”

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