Spring Lake swimming coach Penny Zacek usually hopes to have between five and eight girls qualify for the state meet.
This year, she is taking 10 with her to the Holland Aquatic Center for this weekend’s Division 3 state finals.
“I knew there was some talent there, but it was a pleasant surprise with some of the freshmen — and some of the seniors that stepped it up,” Zacek said. “There have been a lot of really good surprises this year.”
Two of the freshmen swimmers who stand out are Meghan Peel and Jennifer Meulenbelt.
Peel will compete this weekend in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 backstroke. She is ranked No. 5 in the backstroke, with a seed time of 1 minute, 1.24 seconds.
“Meghan still hasn’t realized that she’s fast,” Zacek said. “When she realizes how fast she is, she is going to be very fast.”
Meulenbelt will swim in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, where she comes in at No. 4.
Zacek was quick to add that Meulenbelt is pretty quick, too. Her seed time in the 100 breast-stroke is 1:09.65.
“The really cool thing is they swim totally different events, so they compliment each other,” she said.
And complimenting one another is something that Zacek said has only gotten better as the season has progressed. Many of this weekend’s competitors qualified at the Coastal Conference meet on Nov. 9. Spring Lake’s win that day over Manistee allowed the Lakers to share the crown with the Chippewas, who won the regular season, and gave the girls two more weeks with each other.
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