Zacek hopes to end career with state title

The Spring Lake senior has come very close, but so far, the achievement has eluded him. He will get one more opportunity to do so this weekend, when the Lakers travel to the finals at Oakland University. The preliminary swims begin on Friday, with the finals set for Saturday.
Nate Thompson
Mar 7, 2012

“The state meet, you just never know what might happen,” the 6-foot-4 Zacek said earlier this season. “Even a freshmen you’ve never heard of could sneak out and win. It’s just that type of thing. But a great goal for myself would be to win at least the 200 (freestyle). That’s my ideal goal, but you never know.”

Spring Lake will be well-represented at this weekend’s state meet, as eight other individuals will compete in individual or relay events. The Lakers have an outstanding opportunity to improve on their eighth-place finish at the state finals from a year ago.

“This has been one of the closest teams I’ve ever been a part of, and I think everyone else would agree,” Zacek said. “We’ve got a lot of respect for each other.”
Although their depth isn’t as strong as in years past, Spring Lake was still able to capture a fifth-straight championship in the Coastal Conference on Feb. 25.

Aside from the 200-yard freestyle, Zacek will have a chance to grab state finals glory in the 100 butterfly and as a member of the Lakers’ 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

Spring Lake head coach Penny Zacek, Nick’s mom, also has high hopes for Andrew Hintz in the 100 backstroke.

“He’s ranked pretty high in the state currently,” Penny Zacek said. “I’m looking for great swims from him.”

Other Lakers who will be thick in the excitement of the state finals include Trevor Billinghurst, who will compete in both sprint freestyle events and two relays; Jesse Ruter, who will compete in the backstroke and a relay; Peter Rick will battle in the 100 breaststroke and a pair of relays; and Jared Knorr and Chris Velarde will also add to the Lakers’ qualified relays.

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