GV swim and dive team sets 11 school records at NCAA national championships

GVL / Courtesy Photo
Aaron Beebe of GVSU won the 200 butterfly at the 2012 NCAA DII Mens Swimming and Diving Championships.

Courtesy photo

GVL / Courtesy Photo Aaron Beebe of GVSU won the 200 butterfly at the 2012 NCAA DII Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

Bryce Derouin

For college athletes, few things are more rewarding than seeing your hard work pay off on the biggest stage.

The Grand Valley State University swim and dive teams saw the results of their hard work at the NCAA Division II National Championships. GVSU set 11 new school records on their way to top ten finishes for both the men and women’s team. The GVSU women (8-3, 4-1 GLIAC) finished in sixth place with 191.5 points. Meanwhile, the men (7-3, 4-1 GLIAC) came away in eighth place after tallying 266.5 points. Wayne State University claimed the title on the women’s side with 497 points and Drury University claimed the national title on the men’s side with 473 points.

“We had a great showing, and our highest finish ever with the women,” said GVSU head coach Andy Boyce. “We swam better than we did last year and it was a great way to end the season.”

One of the highlights for GVSU was men’s senior swimmer Aaron Beebe. Beebe captured the first national titles of his career, in the 200-individual medley (1 minute, 46.31 seconds) and the 200-butterfly (1:44.00).

“It’s something that if you’re a college swimmer, it’s just something you dream about,” Beebe said. “Just to have a goal that big and accomplish it is amazing. To be able to do it twice is twice as sweet.”

The wins were even sweeter than usual for Beebe. Coming into the meet, Beebe had been a runner-up at the NCAA Division II National Championships, either as an individual or as a member of a relay team.

“This entire year I couldn’t go to bed without thinking about winning a national title and performing my best at the national championship meet,” he said. “To finally do it is just a weight lifted off your mind. Accomplishing that huge chapter of your career is an incredible feeling.”

For Beebe, the national championships are a reward for the work he has put in throughout his career. Swimming has been more than just a sport for him, it’s been his life.

“There have been many days where I am the only one in the pool in the morning,” he said. “I continued to lift by myself, or train through the entire summer and swim at 5 a.m. by myself. Just laying down the base for what would turn in these championship wins. You almost can’t describe the amount of work that goes into it; I’ve been building up to this for years now.”

The women’s team capped off a successful year with their best showing in the NCAA Division II National Championships in school history. Senior diver Karen Verbrugge highlighted the GVSU women with a second place finish in the 1-meter board with a score of 502.65 and fifth on the 3-meter board with a score of 447.20. She earned All-American honors in both events, and finished with the maximum amount of All-American honors possible in her career with eight.

Looking back on the year, Boyce said he was very pleased with the success his team was able to enjoy. This Lakers team will go down as one of the fastest in the school’s history.

“It was a great year,” he said. “We’ve improved so much from the year before. The fastest the team’s ever been in the history of Grand Valley State swimming and diving. We broke 26 of the 38 swimming records, and Karen Verbrugee broke three diving records.”

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