Swim and dive secure GLIAC Championship titles


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University swim and dive secured the GLIAC Championship titles after four-straight days of competing.

With the wins, the women’s team has won its second conference title in the last three seasons (2020-21 champions) with a total score of 969.5 points. The men’s team continued its dominance in the GLIAC as it has now won nine consecutive championships after scoring 942 points, winning by nearly 400 points above second-place Northern Michigan.

“Both teams performed incredibly well,” said Head Coach Andy Boyce. “Our relays broke school records, we had a couple of athletes win conference awards, Lucy Hedley won freshman and swimmer of the year. All week long, our athletes stepped up.”

Individually, both teams saw several Lakers crowned as conference champions in their events as many of them set GVSU and GLIAC conference meet records over the four-day period (Feb. 15-18).

On day one for the men’s side, junior Eric Hieber won the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:04.47) and graduate student Keegan Hawkins won the 200-yard individual medley (1:47.84). 

For the women’s, the 200-yard medley relay team scraped by with a win (1:42.56) that was secured by freshman Angelica Angilletta, senior Delaney Wihebrink, junior Alysa Wager and senior Rebecca Farber.

Day two saw several swimmers capture individual championships as Wager won the 100-yard butterfly (54.60), freshman Katie O’Connell won the 400-yard individual medley (4:21.55) and freshman Lucy Hedley won the 200-yard freestyle finishing at 1:48.50. 

The 400-yard medley relay team was highlighted by the same quartet of the 200-yard relay the day previous (Angilletta, Wihebrink, Wager and Hedley) as they captured the conference title (3:45.04). 

Hawkins took victory in the 400-yard individual medley (3:52.12) for the men’s team as sophomore Matt Bosch won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:35.56 to cap off day two.

Day three of the meet yielded more of the same for the GVSU teams.

Hieber (4:24.19) and Hedley (4:50.80) each won the men’s and women’s 500-yard freestyle, sophomore Jon Kantzenbach won the 200-yard butterfly (1:47.70) and Wager won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.57. 

“It’s very rewarding to see us winning so much because we’ve worked so hard all season as a team,” Hieber said. “To have that hard work pay off is such an incredible feeling.”

The 800-yard freestyle relay team consisting of sophomore Austin Millard, Hawkins, Hieber and senior Roger Miret Sala won a conference championship as well, finishing at 6:32.78.

Feb. 18 was the fourth and final day of action as both teams finished strong. 

Hieber won another individual championship in the 1650-yard freestyle (15:15.03) with Hedley continuing her dominance in the 100-yard freestyle to secure the victory (50.96). 

“(Winning so many events) is a very overwhelming feeling,” Hedley said. “I just soaked up the atmosphere of everyone wanting to win, it was so lively and everyone came together to support each other as a team.”

Bosch won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 43.54 as senior Wrigley Fields secured the one-meter dive with a score of 450.80 points. 

The men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of senior Roger Sala, Millard, freshman Evan Scotto DiVetta and Bosch won a conference championship (2:56.06) as the Women’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Farber, junior Tina Winter, graduate student Emma Bliss and Hedley won the conference championship as well (3:24.60).

Following the meet, Hieber and Hedley were crowned as the GLIAC Swimmer of the Year for the men’s and women’s programs while Hedley was also named Women’s Newcomer of the Year and GLIAC Freshman of the Year as mentioned previously. 

The team’s major success throughout the season also earned Boyce the 2023 GLIAC Coach of the Year for both the men’s and women’s programs.

“You have to rely a lot on your team,” Hieber said. “We make each other better, we’ve done a lot of work all season long and when you do it with the same people, it’s so much more fun.” 

After a major weekend for the conference postseason, GVSU has a two-week hiatus from competition in preparation for the NCAA DII Qualification Meet. 

“We should have 24-26 (athletes) qualify, which is the biggest team we’ve sent to the national meet,” Boyce said. “All ten of our relays qualified, and relays provide the big points, so we should have a great performance.” 

The qualifier meet will be held on March 7 with an undetermined start time.