Swim & dive teams dominate Calvin Invite

GVL / Hannah Mico
Heath Parling (12) congratulates runningback Kirk Spencer (27) on his second touchdown of Saturdays game.


GVL / Hannah Mico Heath Parling (12) congratulates runningback Kirk Spencer (27) on his second touchdown of Saturday’s game.

Autumn Burin

With their bodies rested and their hearts set on victory, the Grand Valley State University swim and dive teams let out their final pre-race breaths, shaky with anticipation. The taper meet had arrived.

The three-day Calvin College Invitational last weekend was the chance the athletes had been waiting for all season, and with impressive wins for both the GVSU men and women, it was obvious they succeeded in proving worthy of yet another victory.

The Laker women cruised past the other six teams in the event with a final score of 1,193 points — 450.5 more than second-place Northern Michigan University — while the Laker men also stole the show by finishing 737 points ahead of Calvin with 1,320 points.

“Everybody stepped up and dropped time,” GVSU head coach Andy Boyce said. “It was really nice to see so much fast swimming. We got a lot of national cuts.”

Both teams appear to be on track for big things this season.

Sophomore Gianni Ferrero swam the last leg in the 800-yard freestyle relay along with senior Kyle Gunderson and sophomores Nick Zacek and Nate Wagner for a first-place time of 6:31.57.

Ferrero also won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:37.09 and set yet another school record in the 500-yard freestyle by touching first at 4:25.60.

Senior Danielle Vallier also set a school record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 56.76.

Both squads were victorious in the 200-yard freestyle relay, as the women finished with a time of 1:34.74 while the men clocked in at 1:21.20.

Senior Caitlyn Madsen finished first in the 200-yard butterfly, as she has so many times in her career, with a time of 2:04.65.

“A lot of people had season-best or lifetime-best (times),” Madsen said. “As a team, I think we did awesome. We had such high expectations about this meet because of the Michigan State meet.”

Junior Sven Kardol also won the 200 butterfly on the men’s side with a time of 1:49.47.

Junior Olivia Schultz notched yet another victory for the Lakers by finishing first with 1:53.87 in the 200-yard free.

Perhaps the most impressive feat, though, was the level of endurance it took to perform so well for two and a half days.

All the tapering in the world couldn’t stop the Lakers from feeling the exhaustion seep into their muscles after it was all said and done.

“It is difficult to get up and get fast or dive well on that last day,” Boyce said. “They had to dig deep and rely on their training and (even though) some people were sick, we did really well.”

He said the goal of the mid-season taper meet was to get the most national cuts as possible as a team and to see just how much better the times had improved since the start of the season.

He also said his Lakers are excited for their training trip to North Miami Beach in late December. The trip will be highlighted by an event at Florida International University, which will include several schools GVSU has never competed against before.

The student athletes will have to make it through finals week first, though.

“This week we need to focus on what happens in the classrooms,” Boyce said. “We want to be as top notch in the classroom as we are in the pool.”