“We were pleased with that finish, considering we were down six of our 28 member team,” Zacek said. “I am happy with how we competed today. We have had a tough week of practices. While a lot of high school kids are resting over the Christmas break, our guys have been spending four hours a day at the pool, breaking down strokes, working on the basics and putting in some brutal practices. Most of them were pretty tired today and it showed.
“I like when they can prove to themselves that even if they are tired, they can get up and race.”
The host Wildcats easily won the meet with 504.50 points, followed by runner-up Okemos with 285. The Lakers were right on the Chieftains’ heels with 268 points, and Mona Shores rounded out the field with 175.50.
The highlight of the evening for the Lakers was turned in by Zacek’s son, senior Nick Zacek. He set a new meet record in the 200 freestyle, placing first with a time of 1 minute, 48.67 seconds.
Zacek also captured first place in the 500 freestyle, as his time of 5:05.99 beat out runner-up Ian Poland of Okemas by 13 seconds. His third first-place effort came as a member of the 200 freestyle relay, which also included Trevor Billinghurst, Chris Velarde and Jesse Ruter. The team captured the event in a state qualifying time of 1:35.19, and beat out Jenison by about a second.
Penny Zacek was also pleased with huge time drops turned in by Blake Henning, Davis Allison, Frank Reeg, Austin Ward, Chris Velarde, Elijah Locascio and Elden Maynard.
The Lakers have a challenging upcoming week, as they tangle with a talented Holland Christian squad on Thursday, then travel to the Rockford Invitational next Saturday.
“These will give us an opportunity to compete with the big dogs,” Zacek said.