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SL swim looks beyond wins, losses

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:42 AM

In the bigger scope of things, first-year Spring Lake coach Kim Arnold has a different viewpoint.

“The girls swam very well tonight,” she said, after Spring Lake fell to visiting Holland Christian at the Spring Lake Aquatic Center, 118-67. “We had a lot of (personal record) times. If I see a lot of girls drop time, whether we win or lose, it’s a very good meet.”

To be fair, Spring Lake has matched up against a pair of very solid opponents to start its dual season in the Maroons on Tuesday and Byron Center last week.

Holland Christian is coming off a fifth-place finish at last season’s Division 3 finals.

It doesn’t get any easier next week, as the Lakers tangle with Division 1 foe Rockford.

“It’s a good measuring stick to see where the girls are at now and where we’d eventually like them to be at,” Arnold said.

Two performances that instantly stood out on Tuesday in Arnold’s eyes were a big time drop by freshman Paige Burns in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 53.20 seconds) and a season-best time by Audrey Gleason in the 100 breaststroke. Gleason touched the wall in 1:20.25, giving the Lakers their lone first-place finish during the evening.

“You just got to give it your all when it really matters,” Gleason said of her victory. “And at the finish, you’ve got to sprint into the wall.”

Gleason is off by about 5 seconds from her lifetime best in the breaststroke, but she’s shooting for even bigger goals this season.

“I would really like to break my sister’s best time. She’s got the school record (at 1:09.23),” Gleason said of her older sister Lydia, who is now attending Michigan State University.

The Maroons had seven finishes that were good enough to qualify for the Division 3 finals, including a new pool record set in the 500 freestyle by Sydney Asselin.

The sophomore clocked in at 5:20.77, which easily beat out Spring Lake graduate Ginny Cotterall’s 2011 record of 5:25.96.

Asselin ruled the meet, as she also swam to victory in the 200 freestyle, and was a member of the Maroons’ winning 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

The 100 butterfly was tight until the final 20 yards, as Holland Christian’s Rachel Alexander pulled away from Spring Lake sophomore Olivia Kuhn and beat her by two seconds at 1:10.04.

The 100 backstroke also wasn’t decided until the closing stretch, as the Maroons’ Carly Johnson (1:09.01) beat out Spring Lake’s Jaylen Adkins (1:11.14) by just over 2 seconds.

Arnold said she felt her team has adjusted well to having a new coach on board, yet, she’s striving to push them to achieve more in practice.

“We need to improve on our work ethic in practice,” she said. “We need to practicing a few seconds slower than our personal bests, not a minute slower. We need to get more mileage in and when we do that, we’ll see better results.

“We’re just now going through 2-a-days, so girls are finding out that when coach says they need to be here, they have to come ready to work.”

“She’s talked a lot to us about being committed,” added Gleason. “The change (in coaches) has affected everyone, because (former coach Nikki) Theune had been with the program for so long. But we really like Coach Arnold. We’re adjusting well to what she’s demanding from us and we’re open for more changes.”

In diving, Spring Lake received strong scores from Paige Rubleski (166.75) and Makayla Boyink (164.10), but it wasn’t enough to catch Holland Christian standout Olivia Meiste, who won the event with a 181.50. Rubleski and Boyink were second and third, respectively, while Shelby Munch was fifth with a 135.75.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do yet, but the girls are improving steadily,” said diving coach Barb Brackett.

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