Bucs, Lakers place swimmers in top heats

Duncan MacLean • Nov 18, 2016 at 11:57 PM

ROCHESTER HILLS— The Grand Haven girls swim team hit the pool for the second to last time Friday at Oakland University for the MHSAA Division 1 state championship prelims.

At prelims, every swimmer who recorded a state-qualifying time over the course of the season races in heats organized by seed time. The fastest 16 swimmers on Friday get to come back on Saturday and race again to earn points for their team.

The Bucs sent 10 girls to the big dance, five will get the chance to cash in Saturday’s finals.

“We swam a little flat today,” Coach Doug Thorne said of the prelim performance. “We have to get these girls fired up. We still have swims tomorrow, I believe we can go a lot faster.”

The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Alonna Clark, Annah Taylor, Katalin Kovach and Katheryn Ackerman snuck into finals capturing the 16th fastest time, finishing in 1 minute, 39.46 seconds.

The same foursome staged a reprise in the final event of the day, the 400-freestyle relay and again squeaked out a finals appearance, holding onto the 15th best time of 3:38.25.

“We squeaked both our free relays in, we are very proud of that,” Thorne said after the prelim session yesterday. “I still believe we can go faster on both those relays.”

Ackerman anchored both the freestyle relays, clocking the ninth fastest split in the 200-freestyle relay in 23.88 and the 13th fastest overall 400-freestyle relay split, 52.15 seconds.

The team events were only half the battle for Ackerman, who secured top eight spots in both of her individual events for Saturday.

She opened her meet with the 200 I.M., clocking a 2:02.46, good for the second seed in today’s final. She trails Ann Arbor Skyline senior Emma Cleason by half a second.

“She looked real comfortable, real smooth,” Thorne said of the race. “She didn’t look stressed after the race so I think we can go faster tomorrow.”

Ackerman was allowed to cruise through the distance event, locking up the third seed for the 500-freestyle finals with a 4:54.40. She sits behind Georgia Mosher of Ann Arbor Skyline and fellow freshmen Lola Mull of Grand Ledge.

Mosher, Ackerman and fourth-seed Maddie Luther of Saline all most likely will turn up the heat today for finals.

“The 500 again was a nice swim,” Thorne said. “She didn’t have to swim her best today, it was about putting herself in position to race tomorrow.”

Not all the successful swims on Friday earned a call back, Alonna Clark cycled her way to a personal best in the 200 I.M.

“The big perspective on it is we haven’t had kids come back and swim on the second day on the girls side in a long time, I just know we can do more.”

Lakers shine at D3 prelims

The Spring Lake girls swim team engaged in the Division 3 state championship prelims at the Holland Aquatic Center on Friday.

The Lakers will return six swimmers for finals today.

They opened up the meet with a stellar 200-medley relay performance, grabbing the fourth best time at the meet in 1:49.92. The team of Meghan Peel, Jennifer Meulenbelt, Annie Brechting and Sara Mumby made up the medley team for the second year in a row at the state meet.

Meulenbelt and Peel both earned return trips in their two individual events.

Meulenbelt took the seventh seed in the 200 I.M. and the fifth seed in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Peel nearly missed out on a final chance in the 100 butterfly, taking eighth. She rebounded in the 100-backstroke, nabbing the third seed for today.

Mumby staged an impressive time drop to earn a spot in the 100-freestyle consolation final with the 14th fastest time. Allison Brown also took a surprise 13th place finish to grab a spot in the 100-backstroke consolation heat.

Peel, Josie Brown, Meulenbelt and Mumby finished off the meet with an eighth place finish in the 400-freestyle relay, sneaking into the top heat by 0.02 seconds.

The Lakers will look to improve on their seeds today with clutch finals swims.

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