SL swim finds positives despite loss

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:05 PM

The final result wasn't what Lakers' coach Jason Lintjer was hoping for, but there were plenty of highlights for the Spring Lake swimming and diving team.

The Lakers suffered a 129-56 loss to Byron Center on Thursday. Like any loss, it was disappointing, but doesn't affect the team's long-term goals, which right now center upon winning the Coastal Conference.

"It's always tough when you swim a Division 1 team and you're a division 3 school," Lintjer said.

Lintjer didn't have to look far to find highlights for his team.

One of those highlights came in 100-yard freestyle, where Marshall Bailey turned in a lifetime-best effort of 58.56 seconds.

Jared Knorr, who missed the first half of the season, made the most of his first meet of the year as he won the 50 freestyle in 23.76 seconds.

Theren Tjapkes made great strides in the 500 freestyle, trimming 19 seconds off his previous-best time.

Then there was Jesse Ruter, who took first in the 100 backstroke in 1 minute, .56 seconds. He reached a state qualifying time for the third time this winter.

"I was about a second slower than my personal best," said Ruter, who swam a season-best 59.53 seconds during the Lakers' home invitational earlier this month.

"That's the time I should be at. Today wasn't the best, but a win's a win."

Ruter's goals include a strong showing at the conference and state meets.

"I'm hoping to get top 16 in the state in the back, and I want a team to get a couple relays to state," said Ruter, who swims on the Lakers' 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. "The medley relay is close. We've got to trim about two seconds. The 400, we've got a little work to do."

Ruter also placed second in the 200 freestyle in 1:58.58.

Spring Lake's Erik Lukkari continued his tremendous year on the diving board with a convincing victory. His 245.9 points was 55 more than the next-closest competitor.

Blake Henning took second in the 100 butterfly in 59.73 seconds, while Knorr was third in the 100 freestyle in 54.15 seconds. Chris Hintz and Noah Rick placed third and fourth, consecutively, in the 100 breaststroke.

Lintjer said getting Knorr back is a big boost for the Lakers as they continue their quest to claim a conference title.

"He's a real valuable asset," Lintjer said.

"We're still in great shape," Lintjer said. "We lost a heartbreaker to Manistee, but that was without Knorr and without one of our divers. We beat Manistee in our home invitational.

"I'm pretty confident we should be a favorite going into the conference meet."

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