Swim and dive teams sweep at Hillsdale

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
Members of the Laker Swim Team prepare for the backstroke

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter Members of the Laker Swim Team prepare for the backstroke

Garrett Pelican

As Grand Valley State University’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams learned Saturday, not much difference stands between victory and defeat.

After dropping their season openers to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Oct. 15, the Lakers hit the road to Hillsdale College where the men claimed a lopsided 177-46 victory over Lewis University. In a dual meet against Lewis and Hillsdale, the women’s teams cruised to two wins of their own, 193-46 and 205-32, respectively.

GVSU head coach Andy Boyce said all that changed for the Lakers was their opponents.

“We’re always looking for strong teams to go up against, and when we put Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the schedule, a strong Division I team – they were Horizon League champs last year – we knew it was going to be tough, and that’s why we put them on there,” he said. “It’s nice to come back and get a win, but our times weren’t significantly faster than they were last week.”

Men dominate Calvin

Improving to a 1-1 record, the men’s swimmers and divers got help from several contributors en route to their victory. The Lakers won eleven events, including five in which they commanded the top three times.

Boyce praised the across-the-board success from the men with clutch performances coming from freshman Michael Griffith, who took first in the 50-yard freestyle (22.29), freshman Ben Scheurich, who snagged first in the 100-yard freestyle (49.43), and sophomore Derek Mead, who captured first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:45.15), took home a third-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle (4:47.31) and helped Raphael Santos, Leo Dumbovic and Aaron Beebe to a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:35.99).

With the primary focus of the teams’ training on a mid-season meet, the Calvin Invitational, Boyce said it was encouraging to see them do well despite swimming and diving tired.

“We worked a lot over the summer, and we’ve been working well so far this fall,” Mead said. “I think I’m just happy seeing that the training is paying off. I’d like to try to do this for every meet, so I don’t want it to be a great performance. I want it to be the standard. The training so far this year has definitely been better, and we’ve gotten in a lot better workouts than last year. So I can tell a lot of people are working harder and working faster.”

Women overwhelm opponents

The women’s program enjoyed a day for the books as junior diver Rachel Strom broke the school record for the 3 meter dive – tallying a score of 286.90 – and senior Kim Baughman, sophomore Kelsey Vermeer and juniors Lauren Dorsey and Carly Bush broke the record for the 200 medley relay (1:49.22).

Strom, who is enjoying a breakout year after setting the school record for the 1 meter dive (254.03) in Milwaukee, said she credits coaching and staying relaxed with her success this season.

“The more I have fun, the better I do,” Strom said.

The women’s program captured 12 events on Saturday with standout performances from Bush, who won the 200-yards freestyle (1:57.82), the 200-yard fly (2:09.85) and helped the 200 medley relay team to its top finish, and junior Antonia Musto’s first-place finishes in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:20.77) and the 200 IM (2:13.16).

The wins moved the women’s program to a 2-1 record.

“I think we just have to keep on working hard,” Boyce said. “Across the board, we’re looking pretty strong. We’ve got a big conference rival coming up next weekend against Ashland – they’re looking strong than ever. We have Calvin College on Friday night to help prep us for that meet against Ashland on Saturday, but we keep on plugging away in the pool and in practice, and good things will come.”

Teams look to Calvin Invitational

While the wins lend the teams momentum in their upcoming home meet, the swimmers and divers know the importance of starting the season strong.

“We all have some pretty big goals for conference and nationals,” Mead said. “Obviously you want to win conference, and we came in fourth last year at nationals, so we want to do better than that.”

Until then, Boyce said there is plenty of work to do.

“There are certain swimmers that are really rising to the challenge, and they’re above where I though they would be at this point and others that are a little beat up right now, a little tired, that aren’t quite where we thought they would be,” he added. “But I’m confident they’ll be there at the end of the season and at the Calvin invitational here in the first week of December.”

The teams will compete at Calvin College on Friday before meeting Ashland University at home on Saturday.

[email protected]