Two Bucs’ swimmers turned in a pair of record-breaking performances apiece at Saturday’s O-K Red Conference meet at East Kentwood High School, while all three Grand Haven relays dropped time off their previous season-best finishes and qualified for the Division 1 state meet.
“We’ve had some of the best tapers I’ve seen,” Thorne said. “The kids swam amazing.”
In the team standings, Grand Haven placed sixth out of seven teams with 217 points. Rockford was the runaway champion with 510 points, beating out runner-up Hudsonville by 168 points.
The Bucs’ feel-good moments on Saturday started with senior Aaron Venema, who broke the Grand Haven school record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4 minutes, 42.84 seconds. The previous record was held by current Grand Valley State swimmer Aaron Beebe. Venema also won the 200 freestyle on Saturday, clocking in at 1:44.33. Venema’s times in both events qualified him for the Division 1 state finals.
“Aaron’s truly our leader and he came to conference on a mission,” Thorne said. “Here’s a kid who has worked so hard and he’s very deserving of this.”
Grand Haven’s Japanese exchange student Takuya Kobayashi — who’s actually living with Venema’s family during the school year — had a brilliant day of his own, setting East Kentwood pool and O-K Red records in both the 200 individual medley (1:54.44) and the 100 butterfly (51.03).
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