The Lakers hosted their home invitational Saturday, finishing in second place with 456 points. Northview took home top-honors with 477 points, while Ludington came in third (397), Manistee fourth (245), Fremont fifth (186) and Mona Shores last (144).
"Across the board, we swam really well, we had kids all over the place swimming well," Spring Lake head coach Rob Peel said. "We trained really hard over Christmas break and trained really hard this week, so that is all you can ask for. Our goal (Saturday) was to take advantage of that training. We had a great week so we wanted to show it."
Since their season-opening victory over Caledonia, Spring Lake hasn't been able to piece together another team victory, despite a roster featuring some of the quickest swimmers in the state.
It was more of the same Saturday, as the Lakers took down three pool records and continued to close in on the few remaining varsity records this current team hasn't managed to break.
Sophomore Joey Wachter, senior Will Brown, sophomore K.J. Losee and junior Cam Peel lowered the Spring Lake Aquatic Center record in the 200 medley relay for the second time this season, finishing with a first-place time of 1 minute, 37.99 seconds.
Peel made it double, clocking in at 1:44.00 in the 200 freestyle for a new pool record and another first-place finish. Finally, Losee, senior Drew Fogel, Wachter and Peel joined up to lower their pool record in the 200 freestyle relay, coming in at 1:28.85, taking first place by six seconds.
"Seven of the 12 pool records have already been broken this year," Peel said. "Not all by us though, we had a few go down at the Forest Hills and Holland Christian meets to some great swimmers, so I told the boys before (Saturday), ‘Hey, I'm sick of other teams having our pool records, let's take some of these down.' So those were super fun to get at our own invitational."
The Lakers won plenty of events Saturday without setting records. Losee took home top honors in the 200 individual medley (2:02.21), ahead of Brown in third place (2:10.38).
Wachter took home the 50 freestyle (22.67) and 100 backstroke (54.62) titles. Fogel followed in the backstroke, grabbing third place (58.90).
Fogel made a habit of bronze medals, taking another third in the 100 butterfly (55.47), just behind Peel in first place (54.24).
Senior Garrett Henning got involved with a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle (53.31) before Losee and Brown rounded out the individual efforts with a second 1:03.91) and third (1:05.46) place finish in the 100 breaststroke, respectively. Finally, Fogel, Henning, Sam Sella and Brown finished runner-up in the 400 freestyle relay (3:33.53).
Noah Locascio led the way in the deep end, taking a third-place finish overall with a score of 355.5 points.
Also standing out for the Lakers were the distance-training pair of Collin Schock and Eric Geschiere, who posted huge time drops in the 500 freestyle to take fourth and fifth place.
"We had lots of great swims today. I was super impressed with Colln and Eric's 500, that was really fun to watch," Rob said. "They train next to each other so racing in that event really motivated them. Their best times were in the 5:50's, so to see them push each other in that race was exciting."
Despite the slew of top-three finishes, the Lakers fell behind as the meet went on with quality depth-points a rarity for a small roster.
The lack of victories hasn't daunted the plucky Lakers, however, as their lofty goals continue to motivate the squad from top to bottom.
"They feel good about the results for them, we just run out of swimmers at the end. But I don't feel bad about the losses at all, and they don't either," Peel said. "When I was swimming, it may have bothered me a little bit more, but the times are there and more than ever our best swimmers are rubbing off on the kids with less experience and the focus is on the end of the year.
"If the kids are focusing on the end of the year, it helps them keep working hard and keep their motivation high. We know the dual meets are going to be tough, but our goals are bigger than that."
With their goals in check and motivation growing, the Lakers are trending in the right direction. They return to the pool for their third of eight meets this month at Grand Haven on Tuesday at 6 p.m.