While the atmosphere was cold and dreary outside, the Rams—along with five area teams—were turning up the heat inside with some strong performances at the Rockford Invitational meet on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7. Rockford showed their dominance in the pool by scoring almost 300 points ahead of second-place East Kentwood. The final scores of the meet were Rockford 680, East Kentwood 388, West Ottawa 359, Jenison 333, Spring Lake 273, and Grand Haven 232.
The Rockford divers faced fierce competition on Friday night when West Ottawa’s Jordan Welling, an All American qualifier, ran away with the lead, grabbing 422.60 points. Ram diver Shane Phillips earned fifth place with 310.90 points, followed by Devin Rittenhouse in seventh (291.65), Mitch Rodema in eighth (288.65), and freshman Nate Isley in 15th place (191.10).
In the first event of the day on Saturday morning, the 200-yard medley relay, Rockford’s senior captains Eric Chisholm, Josh Travis and Bryan Wasberg, along with sophomore Craig Wasberg, energized the crowd by breaking the pool record in a time of 1:36.90. Hours later, the same four swimmers seized one of the fastest times in Division I so far this season with their 200-yard free relay state-qualifying swim of 1:27.64, barely missing breaking another pool record by only .50.
E. Chisholm continued to entertain the fans with his incredible individual performance in the 50-yard free (21.12), just .03 seconds away from taking down another pool record. He continued his winning streak in the 100-yard free by touching the wall first in 47.85 seconds.
Junior Mike Arend grabbed the eighth individual state cut for the Rams so far this season with his second-place finish in the 500-yard free (4:56.71), behind first-place Grand Haven swimmer Takuya Kobayaski (4:53.66). B. Wasberg added the ninth, with his 50-yard state-qualifying lead-off swim in the 200-yard free relay (22.53).
Rockford claimed numerous points when junior Nick Willison won the 100-yard back event (55.82), improving on his original state time in that event. Travis pulled in second with 57.01.
C. Wasberg led the way in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.82), followed by Willison in second (2:05.93).
In the final event of the day, the 400-yard free relay team of Mike Arend, Harrison Webb, Willison and Trenton Babcock gained even more points with their second-place finish (3:24.16), behind the first-place Jenison team of Clement, White, Bouma and Wesseling (3:22.89).