Women’s swimming starts season with win over Northern

Tate Baker

The last time the Grand Valley State University women’s swimming and diving team faced Northern Michigan University, the Wildcats finished 46.5 points better than the Lakers as they went on to take third at the 2013 GLIAC championships.

Eight months later, the Lakers finally got another shot at Northern Michigan as they hit the water for the first meet of the season.

“Our team has waited a long time to get a shot against a GLIAC team,” assistant coach Justin Vasquez said. “We have put a lot of preparation in the weeks leading up to today’s meet. It was great to see it all come together.”

GVSU seized its opportunity, as it went on to win seven of the thirteen events, which eventually led to a 138-105 win over its GLIAC foe.

“It’s great to have our entire team perform the way they did today,” Vasquez said. “Winning the first GLIAC meet of the year gives us some momentum going into the season.”

Sophomore diver Taylor Wiercinski was a large part of the Lakers’ success as she was able to battle through flu-like symptoms to win the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. Wiercinski defeated Northern Michigan’s Molly Kearney in the 1-meter (257.90) and in the 3-meter (277.60).

“It was a tough week of practice for me, but I was able to bring it together against Northern,” Wiercinski said. “I feel like all of us really focused in, and that’s what pushed us ahead today.”

After GVSU lost the 200 medley relay by 0.48 seconds, the Lakers were able to split the relay events. GVSU would rebound to take the 200-yard freestyle relay, recording a time of1 minute, 39.42 seconds.

“Our relays really stepped up big for us,” assistant coach Steve Burciaga said. “Northern has really strong relay teams and that showed today. I’m glad we were up to the task.”

The Lakers’ most successful event of the day was the 50 yard freestyle as GVSU swept the event behind the strength of junior Sarah Roeser (24.50), junior Emily Eaton (24.56) and freshman Madison Waltman (25.49).

“A lot of our younger girls stepped up big today,” Burciaga said. “It’s always nice to see the new pieces fit into our team right in the beginning of the season. Our freshmen are adjusting to the college level well.”

GVSU’s women’s swim and dive teams will have a week to prepare before it travels across Lake Michigan to face Division I foe, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“Wisconsin-Milwaukee is always a big meet for us,” Vasquez said. “You always enjoy the opportunity to take on a Division I team. Hopefully we bring the same intensity that we had today.”