Ferrero leads GVSU to victory over No. 11 Wayne State

GVL / Robert Mathews
Junior Kirsten Emerson

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews Junior Kirsten Emerson

Jay Bushen

It hasn’t taken long for freshman Gianni Ferrero to get acquainted with swimming in the United States.

Ferrero was instrumental in the Grand Valley State University men’s swim and dive team’s huge conference victory at home Saturday, defeating their cross-state rival Wayne State University with a score of 165-135.

Ferrero, who has quickly become a star for the Lakers since arriving from Idstein, Germany, touched first in three events Saturday (500 freestyle, 200 IM, 100 backstroke), breaking a pair of GVSU pool records in the process. His time in the 500 freestyle (4 four minutes, 30.75 seconds) bested the previous record by more than five seconds, while his time in the 200 IM (1:50.56) was more than four seconds better than the previous mark.

Ferrero is part of a GVSU squad with plenty of international talent. GVSU head coach Andy Boyce said this international presence only helps his team.

“The international swimmers help to push our team to become the very best we can be,” Boyce said. “We view ourselves as one big family. We look out for each other.”

The Lakers entered Saturday’s meet ranked No. 12 in the nation, one spot behind the No. 11 Warriors. Boyce said the rivalry is one he always looks forward to.

“It was a big win,” Boyce said. “It’s always a lot of fun for us to compete against one of the top Division II teams in the country. Definitely one we had marked on our calendar.”

The Lakers also received a big day from sophomore Sven Kardol, who won a pair of events. Kardol finished first in the 200 butterfly (1:54.05) and 200 backstroke (1:53.47). He also finished second behind Ferrero in the 200 IM with a time of 1:54.74.

“The win is a good stepping stone for us,” said sophomore Nathaniel Stoller. “But we can’t be too cocky. We beat them last year when we met during the season, but they got us at the GLIAC Championships.”

GVSU also placed first in the 4×400 freestyle relay (3:06.97) with a strong effort from senior Derek Mead, juniors Erik Aekesson and Michael Griffith and sophomore Milan Medo. Medo was also victorious in the 100 free (46.02).

“I have complete confidence in our team,” Griffith said. “If we’re able to get a win against Indianapolis next week, we’ll feel even more confident heading into the conference meet.”

The GVSU women’s squad was unable to defeat the reigning Division II champions, losing 189-111. The No. 2 Warriors were able to win 14 of the 16 events in the meet.

Danielle Vallier was responsible for both of GVSU’s victories, touching first in both the 100 breastroke (1:07.09) and 200 breastroke (2:24.62).

Both GVSU squads will conclude their regular season on Saturday, when they welcome the University of Indianapolis to Allendale at 1 p.m. The GLIAC Championships will begin on Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. in Canton, Ohio.