Women settle for second in GLIAC championships

Freshman Danielle Vallier swims the 200 yard breaststroke during the GLIAC Championship

Eric Coulter

Freshman Danielle Vallier swims the 200 yard breaststroke during the GLIAC Championship

Kevin VanAntwerpen

For the second year in a row, the Grand Valley State University women’s swimming and diving team took second place at the GLIAC championships and fell once again to Wayne State University.

“We had a couple injuries, but all teams have that,” said GVSU head coach Andy Boyce. “We just always have to push – Wayne State pushes us, and we push them. Every year we get better, but every year they get better, too.”

The Warriors nabbed the conference title with 868 points as the Lakers finished well behind with 736 points, a 132-point difference. This year’s GLIAC competition was held at Jenison High School, just five-and-a-half miles from the GVSU Allendale Campus, and ran from Wednesday through Saturday.

The meet featured seven different GLIAC schools and had hundreds of races over the four-day span.

“It’s what we train for all year – it’s never easy,” Boyce said.

Among the top performances of the conference, Carly Bush broke a GVSU varsity record almost every night of the week and qualified for the national conference on March 9 in San Antonio, Tex.

“I’m really proud of [Bush],” Boyce said. “She’s worked hard to get here and to qualify for nationals. She should do really well [at nationals].”

On Wednesday night, Bush broke the 1,000-yard freestyle record by more than ten seconds and scored an NCAA Division II A cut with a time of 10 minutes and 13.79 seconds. On Thursday she was part of the team to break the school record in the 4×400 medley relay alongside Kelsey Vermeer, Lauren Dorsey and Katelyn Childers.

The following day, Bush broke her third varsity record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time 56.65, also an NCAA Division II B cut.

Despite her success, Bush was quick to point out the entire team had strong individual performances.

“Everyone did so well at this meet personally,” she said. “Even though Wayne (State) beat us, everyone did really well. They definitely put up a stronger meet than us, but overall both teams did a great job – it was a fair win.”

The week was also highlighted by several other successes. Junior diver Karen Vebrugge won her third one-meter dive GLIAC title with a score of 454.35. Additionally, the Lakers placed four swimmers in the top eight in the 200-yard relays.

Boyce said his team wrapped up Saturday looking forward to the rest they would get on Sunday before “hitting the books” again on Monday.

“The week is so long,” he said. “You start at 10 in the morning, and most nights you’re getting home at 11. Then you’re getting up the next morning and giving it everything you’ve got.”

Now with the GLIAC conference over, the Lakers have three weeks until nationals. Bush said she thinks the Lakers have a better shot than ever at the meet.

“Every meet is just practice for the next meet,” Bush said. “We saw what we needed to improve on, and it’s only going to make us better.”

Five divers and one swimmer have already qualified for the meet with seven or eight more swimmers waiting to hear if they have qualified, Boyce said. They will not know until after the scores of other teams from across the conference are in.

“We’ve got to sit on pins and needles and hope for the best,” Boyce said.

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