With over 50 teams competing at the Division I State Swim Championships on March 11-12 at Oakland University, Rockford showed just how far they have come this year when they nabbed the third-place title with 150 points, becoming the only west side team to bring home a trophy. It has been 10 long years since the Rams have brought back a trophy to Rockford, and four years since a Rockford male swimmer has claimed first in an individual event. But all that changed over the weekend. Junior Eric Chisholm clenched the individual state title with his swim in the 50-yard free in the finals on Saturday, clocking a lightning speed time of 21.19 seconds.
Along with an individual state championship, the Rams also broke two high school records and placed all three relays in the top 16. The 200-yard medley relay team of Craig Wasberg, Bryan Wasberg, Ben Fredrickson, and Chisholm swam their fastest relay splits of the season to grab second place in an “All American” time of 135.19, breaking the 2001 Rockford record previously held by K. Hyde, K. Cannon, N. Harley and C. Sullivan, who held it with a 135.50.
Freshman C. Wasberg made an immediate impact at the state meet when he also broke a 10-year-old Rockford record previously held by Kevin Hyde (53.00) with his swim in the prelims of the backstroke (52.79). Wasberg placed fifth overall in the finals of the backstroke on Saturday.
Rockford accumulated numerous points from their other two relays when swimmers Chisholm, Jeff Schmitt, Fredrickson, and B. Wasberg touched in fifth place in the 200-yard free relay (1:27.43), and the 400-yard relay team of Schmitt, Mike Arend, Trenton Babcock and C. Wasberg grabbed 13th in a time of 3:16.42.
With only the top 16 individuals able to score in each event, the Rams came out with big points in the 100-yard fly when both C. Wasberg and Fredrickson locked into the top eight finals, placing fourth and sixth respectively. Juniors Chisholm and B. Wasberg also contributed in the consolation finals with Chisholm’s 15th place in the 100-yard free, and B. Wasberg’s ninth place in the 200-yard IM and 10th place in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Rockford senior diver LJ McCauley and sophomore swimmer Arend (500-yard free) barely missed competing in the finals when they both placed 17th in the prelims on Friday. Other competing Ram swimmers in the prelims included Nick Willison, who placed 19th, and Harry Webb with 33rd in the 100-yard back, Josh Travis with 21st in both the 100-yard fly and the 100-yard back, Jared Martella with 23rd and Babcock with 27th place in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Arend with 35th in the 200-yard free.
With such a large group of swimmers returning under Rockford Head Coach Tom Parks, the Rams hope to make an even bigger impact at the state meet next year.