Five state qualifying performances, a new school record in diving and most importantly, an outright championship in the Coastal Conference equaled an overall outstanding day for the Spring Lake swimming and diving team on Saturday.
With Spring Lake trailing host Manistee in the standings entering the conference meet, the Lakers needed some help to capture the league title. With the Chippewas' third-place finish and the Lakers' first-place showing, they were able to leapfrog the Chippewas to claim the outright title.
Spring Lake totaled 573 points to lead the five-team field, while Fremont was runner-up with 442. Manistee finished with 365, with Ludington (289) and Muskegon Catholic Central (132) rounding out the standings.
"It was a full Spring Lake effort today and we cam out with the victory," said first-year Lakers' coach, Jason Lintjer. "These kids worked extremely hard the entire year and it certainly paid off."
Spring Lake's most impressive individual showing came from senior diver Erik Lukkari, as he set a school and Manistee pool record with an 11-dive score of 436.65, nearly 100 points ahead of the second-place diver, Hunter Klug of Ludington.
"He stayed consistent throughout the competition and dove extremely well," said Lakers' diving coach Tom Knight.
Spring Lake had just one Division 3 state-qualifying cut entering the meet, but following Saturday, that number now stands at six. The Lakers made the cut with their victory by the 200-yard medley relay team (Jesse Ruter, Blake Henning, Chris Hintz, Jared Knorr, 1:47, 79); Ruter's runner-up showing in the 200 freestyle (1:52.17); Knorr's strong sprint in the 50 freestyle (23.14); Henning's nearly three-second win in the 100 butterfly (57.93); and the 200 freestyle relay's runner-up finish of 1:36.09. That squad consisted of Connor Love, Keon Rick, Noah Rick and Knorr.
Ruter had already qualified in the 100 backstroke and continued to shine in the event Saturday, winning by about four seconds in 58.41 over teammate Marshall Bailey.