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Lakers' swimmers finally at full strength

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:47 AM

With the Coastal Conference Meet and Division 3 state finals approaching next month, the Lakers thrived in the final regular season league dual meet on Thursday, as they defeated rival Ludington in convincing fashion, 107-74.

The Lakers won every event, however, the last two — the 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay — were scored as exhibitions, allowing the Orioles to close the gap in the final score.

Spring Lake also celebrated Senior and Parents Nights before the meet.

“There was a lot of extra motivation tonight,” said Spring Lake coach Kim Arnold. “There were personal bests from almost the entire team in at least every one of the events. That’s nice to see heading into such an important part of the season.”

Junior Aubrey Rolston had a big meet for the Lakers, as she captured first-place honors in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events. She was close to matching her season best in her specialty, the 500, by touching the wall in 6 minutes, 6.02 seconds.

“I got a 6:05 a couple weeks ago against MCC,” she said. “But I’ve kind of slipped and have been swimming in the 6:20s since then. The main thing for me is to focus on the race and keep that direct focus and just remember every piece of advice you’ve gotten. With me I know I need to keep my arm kind of bent instead of flexing and I need to keep getting off strong on my turns. I’ve got a lot of advice from Ginny Cotterall (who is now swimming at Grand Valley State), and our assistant coach last year, Aria Kieft.”

Other big wins for Spring Lake included a time drop from its 200 medley relay team of Jaylen Adkins, Olivia Kuhn, Roxane Strobel and Sophia Kleinheksel. They finished in 2:04.83.

Strobel went on to win the 200 individual medley over runner-up teammate Kuhn by a healthy 11 seconds, and then narrowly edged Audrey Gleason by less than a second in the 100 breaststroke, before it was scored an exhibition for the Orioles.

Adkins, the Lakers’ top sprinter, won both the 50 and 100 freestyle events, as she clocked in at 27.45 in the 50 and 1:00.64 in the 100. The 100 was a 1-2-3 finish for Spring Lake, as second-place Kleinheksel and third-place Ellen Hyde each turned in state qualifying finishes.

Kuhn won the 100 butterfly in a state qualifying time of 1:10.84, while the 200 freestyle relay of Adkins, Hyde, Kleinheksel and Strobel won in 1:50.78.

In diving, sophomore Paige Rubleski also readied herself for a strong close to the season, as she chalked a victory with a score of 198.50.

“You need five wins to qualify for the regionals and I got that last week,” she said. “It’s a big pressure off of my shoulders.”

Ludington’s Veronica Snow was second in the competition with a 181.40, while Lakers’ Makayla Boyink (167.05) was third and Shelby Munch was fifth (161.85).

“All were close to their personal bests against Ludington,” said Lakers’ coach Barb Brackett. “It was a good chance to see what the girls need to work on for the conference meet, since Ludington is one of our biggest competitors.”

Rubleski said she’s confident that she can become a conference champion at the league meet at the Spring Lake Aquatic Center on Nov. 2-3, but faces a tough challenge from a competitor from Manistee.

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