Grand Haven swim team hits their marks at D1 state meet

Tribune Staff • Mar 13, 2017 at 6:30 AM

The Grand Haven boys swim and dive team sent nine athletes to the Division 1 swimming and diving championships at Oakland University on Friday and Saturday, scoring 22 total points.

Grant Ruster led the way, qualifying for the championship final in the 200 I.M, taking fifth overall in 1:53.13.

Ruster also teamed up with Carter Brown, Sam Hankinson and Jordan DeVries to qualify for 16th place in the 200 medley relay consolation finals, on Saturday, they improved their time and moved up two spots to finish 14th.

Jordan DeVries also cracked an individual final, taking 14th overall in the 100 freestyle in a time of 48.27, after clocking in at 47.68 in prelims on Friday.

“We had a great weekend,” said Grand Haven head coach Doug Thorne. “Friday, we swam phenomenal. We were hoping to squeak a relay in, and our (200) medley dropped a second and a half off of their time. We finished 14th on Saturday, so I was really proud of that group.”

After qualifying for last year’s state meet, Buccaneer veterans Ruster and Devries had the sights set on improving on those times.

“Grant had one of the best swims of the whole meet,” Thorne said. “He dropped six seconds off of his IM time on Friday. He set a new school record with that time, and finished sixth on Saturday to earn All-State. He’s a great athlete, but he’s an even harder worker. His hard work showed this weekend, and he was rewarded for it.

“Jordan was gunning to hit the 47 (second) mark, and he got that on Friday. He’s another kid that worked his butt off to get to this point, and this is only going to motivated him to work even harder this offseason.”

From experienced leaders to freshmen phenoms, the Grand Haven swim program has plenty to look forward to next season.

“Carter Brown has a bright future ahead of him,” Thorne added. “We talked after the meet on Saturday about what his potential is and what the expectations are going to be for him moving forward. Matt Fahey is another kid that has improved a lot over the course of the season, and I think the expectations for him are going to be higher, as well.

“After a strong showing like this, I think it raises the bar for everybody, and it gives them a lot of confidence,” Thorne continued. “I think they all realize now that if they work hard, stay the course, and stick it out all four years, they will have a lot of success by the time it’s all over.”

Saturday marked the final high school event for senior Sam Hankinson, who had come a long way before becoming an integral member of the 200 medley relay team.

“It’s always sad to see seniors leave the program, but I’m really proud of of Sam,” Thorne said. “He was hugging the pool gutter early on in his swimming career, and for him to improve to the point that he’s helping a relay team get points at the state meet, that’s pretty special.”

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