Teams fall to Michigan State for third-straight year

GVL/ Rane Martin
Head coach Andy Boyce encourages his team during the Lakers meet against Northern Michigan University last Saturday.

Rane Martin

GVL/ Rane Martin Head coach Andy Boyce encourages his team during the Lakers meet against Northern Michigan University last Saturday.

Bryce Derouin

For the third consecutive year, the Division II Grand Valley State University and Division I Michigan State University swimming teams faced off at the Jenison Aquatic Center on Friday night.

The results were no different than the past two matchups, both losses, but the meet did not come without excitement. The Michigan State men (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) defeated GVSU’s men (3-2, 2-0 GLIAC) by the slimmest of margins, 120-119. Meanwhile, the GVSU women (4-2,3-0 GLIAC) were outscored 167-76 by the Michigan State women (2-2, 1-2 Big Ten).

The men’s meet came down to the last event of the night and Michigan State came away with the victory in the 400 yard freestyle relay with a time of 3 minutes, 6.82 seconds.

“That’s why we schedule Michigan State,” said GVSU swimming and diving head coach Andy Boyce. “They are a tough team and always push us.”

One of the night’s most exciting races was the men’s 200 backstroke, where Michigan State’s Jacob Jarzen edged out GVSU’s Raphael Santos by six one-hundredths of a second.

“I had the lead the whole way,” said Santos, a senior. “Going in the last 25 yards, the other guy kicked farther in the water. He got me in the last five yards and I gave it everything I had.”

GVSU plans to use the matchup against Michigan State as a learning experience and as a confidence builder for the rest of the year.

“It was a heartbreaker losing by one, but we’ll learn from that and take that when we meet tough teams in the conference like Wayne State and Indianapolis in the future,” Boyce said.

Freshman Milan Medo led the GVSU men’s team by winning three events. Medo was a part of the winning 400-yard medley relay team (3:23.44), and took first in the 100-yard freestyle (46.10). He also won the 50-yard freestyle (20.90) while setting a new GVSU freshman record in the event. The previous record was 21.00 held by Michael Griffith.

Medo, a freshman from Slovakia, has had to make the transition from racing to the different swimming lengths used in the different countries.

“This is my first year of swimming in yards,” Medo said. “Before I only swam on short courses using meters.”

The GVSU women came back the next day to defeat Northern Michigan University (0-3, 0-1 GLIAC) 192-104.

“We’re a little flat today coming off a lot of swimming against Michigan State,” Boyce said. “We had some good times today, but I was hoping for a little bit faster. Overall, it was a good meet for us.”

GVSU had to adjust to swimming on back-to-back days and prepare mentally and physically for the two meets.

“It’s tough to swim in two meets in a row but we just have to have our heads on straight,” said freshman Olivia Schultz, who was a member of the winning 400 freestyle relay team on Saturday. “We had to push through the pain, but our team is supportive and we got through it together.”

GVSU’s men and women’s teams will have their endurance tested in coming meets.

“We have the Ball State Invitational next weekend, and it’s a grueling meet,” Boyce said. “It’s a three-day conference meet and we go through a lot of swimming. It’ll be a great meet and a great test to see what kind of condition they are in heading into the Calvin Invitational in three weeks.”

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