The Spring Lake girls swim team powered through gradual fatigue, illness and the doldrums of the regular season to compete against Grand Rapids Northview on Tuesday at the Spring Lake Aquatic Center.
The Lakers managed to win five events, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Wildcats at bay, as they scored a 97-83 win over the hosts from Spring Lake.
“Tonight was a test for a lot of our girls. We’ve been working really hard, and we have a lot of kids who are tired, a lot of girls who are sick, and I just told them before the meet that we have to put all those excuses aside and they have to go out there and swim for themselves,” said Spring Lake swim coach Kaci Wiebenga.
“So we gutted it out tonight and we put up some good times. We had a lot of times that ended up right around their season best, and we have some girls who are battling it out for some spots on the relays, so it’s interesting to see how it all plays out.”
Freshman Eliza Hulverson led the way for the Lakers, winning the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2 minutes, 4.54 seconds and added a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:15.68.
Junior Sara Mumby added a win in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.99 seconds and added a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:06.38.
Mumby and Hulverson teamed up with seniors Madi Miller and Josie Brown to win the 400 freestyle relay event with a time of 4:00.32.
“Eliza has been really close to qualifying in several events, so we’re just trying to narrow down which events she has her goals set on,” Wiebenga said. “She was really hoping for that 200 today, but she dropped a few seconds from her usual time. She ran an awesome race, though, so I’m sure she’ll get it soon.
“Sara had a really good meet today, and she just missed that (butter) fly cut, but she’s pushing really hard for it. She had a really strong 75 (yards), but those last 25 really got her. She just needs to work on her endurance in that event a little more, and she’ll probably get that mark.”
Sophomore Shalini Hayenga recorded a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:12.11. She then teamed up with sophomore Lydia Miller, freshman Zoe Komar and senior Emma Tober in the 400 freestyle relay to record a second-place finish with a time of 4:30.39.
Also adding runner-up finishes for the Lakers were: Eve Geschiere in the 100 breaststroke (1:22.51) and the 200 freestyle relay team of Tober, Komar, Miller and Madelyn Rabideau (1:54.37).
Audra Bialik led the Laker diving team with a third-place finish with 209.05 points, while Ellie Higgs (169.05) finished fourth and Lindsey Smith (159) finished fifth.
“Amaya Fisher really had an awesome meet. We’ve been pushing her to her limit at practice, and she’s continued to drop her times over the course of the season and she had a really nice 500 time today,” added Wiebenga.
“Madi Miller had an awesome meet. She’s one of our captains on the team, and she’s constantly setting an example for the other girls to follow. She keeps pushing and pushing, and today she was right at her season best in a few events. She doesn’t let anything stop her.”
The Lakers possess an interesting mix of upperclassmen experience and some untapped potential in a sizable freshmen class of athletes.
“We have a really large group of freshmen, and they all just continue to drop their times,” Wiebenga continued. “You have put them in different events, because they all want to be sprinters at first. I have to tell them that they aren’t all sprinters, so some of you try the 200 individual medley or some backstroke, and they just adjust to the new events quickly and really take off from there.
“We’re going to be able to utilize those different skill sets a lot next year and that will only make us a stronger team in the long run.”
With individual state cuts within reach, the Lakers main concern now is deciding relay team members and lineups.
“We have six girls that are neck and neck for some of the same positions on relay teams,” Wiebenga stated. “It’s going to make practices in the next few weeks interesting because the girls know that they are racing a time, but they also racing against their friends. It’s going to make for some competitive practices and hopefully it’ll bring out the best in some of the girls.”
Spring Lake will get another chance to prove themselves on Oct. 17 when they host Grand Rapids Christian for Senior Night at the Spring Lake Aquatic Center.