GVSU men’s, women’s teams place first at GLIAC Swim and Dive Championship meet

GVL / Courtesy -  Joseba Hidalgo

GVL / Courtesy – Joseba Hidalgo

Jake Carroll

For those who didn’t qualify for nationals, the GLIAC Championship meet was the last meet of the season for the Grand Valley State swim and dive team. For those who did qualify, however, it’s time for them to focus and bring a national championship back to Allendale.

The meet lasted four days starting Wednesday, Feb. 8 and ended Saturday, Feb 11 in Saginaw, Michigan. Over those four days, the Lakers had their eyes dead set on winning the title.

All season, the women’s squad has been striving to win the conference title. For the past two seasons they have been runner-up, and this was the year that was going to end.

For the first time since 2009, they did it.

“I have gotten to see how everyone’s hard work has paid off,” said team captain Emily Gallagher. “The seniors have been working three years for this and it’s nice to have our dream come true.”

For the men, they are returning back to back champions of the GLIAC title. They were looking to pull off the three-peat.

They did it.

“It’s one thing winning, but winning from a captain’s role is hard to describe,” said swimmer Danny Abbott. “All we talk about is winning the conference title. It was special tonight.”

It was history last year when they won the title back to back for the first time in program history. This year, they set history again by winning the title for a third time in a row.

The first race of the four-day meet on Wednesday was indicative of how the women would finish Saturday. GVSU’s returning national champion Leonie Van Noort took first in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:55.35, Melina Goebel finished second in that event with a time of 10:07.31 and Meghan Shaughnessy finished third with a time of 10:08.11.

It’s very rare in a meet this size to take first, second, and third place in one event. This being the first meet of the week, it gave the women huge momentum.

For the women, Van Noort was unstoppable. She logged seven first place finishes and one second place. This was good enough to win Van Noort GLIAC Swimmer of the Year for the second year in a row.

“Everyone played such a big role,” Van Noort said. “Every single person pushes me. This is not something you do alone.”

GVSU divers Brad Dalrymple, Jared Gregory, and Joe Gucwa dominated the boards this week. They won first, second, and third in both the 3-meter and the 1-meter.

Dalrymple finished first on the 3-meter with a score of 544.55, Gregory finished second on the 3-meter with a score of 488.20 and Gucwa finished third with a score of 479.20.

On the 1-meter, Dalrymple took first with a score of 513.25, Gregory took second with a score of 458.20 and Gucwa took third with a score of 456.75.

As for the women’s diving, Mikayla Karasek and Kayla Marquardt took third and fourth in the 1-meter dive. Karasek took third with a score of 397.25 and Marquardt took fourth with a score of 383.60 for the 3-meter dive.

The men weren’t just dominant on the diving board, but they were a force in the pool as well.

Sophomore Ben Walling brought his A-game this week, after securing two first place finishes, two second place finishes and a third place finish. He was a part of the 400 relay team with Abbott, Gabriel Souza and Marcel Nagy that set an all-time GLIAC record and NCAA provisional time (2:56.36).

Marius Mikalauskas also aided in the GVSU victory by tacking on three first place finishes, one second place finish, and one third place finish earning him an individual GLIAC title. Mikalauskas set a GLIAC all-time record with an NCAA B cut time of 1:56.44 in the 200 breast.

“This has been a long time coming,” said GVSU coach Andy Boyce, who was named GLIAC Coach of the Year for the men’s (fifth time of his career) and women’s (second time) teams. “No one on this team has become complacent. Everyone keeps making strides day-in and day-out.”

The national meet will be held in Birmingham, Alabama Tuesday, March 7 through Saturday, March 11.