For the fifth year in a row, Head Coach Tom Parks left the pool deck in soaking wet clothes, after jumping in the pool with his swimmers to celebrate winning the OK Red Conference title. At the halfway point of the meet at the Grand Haven Natatorium on Saturday, February 23rd, both Rockford and Hudsonville were tied with 153 points. However, the Rams ran away with the lead in the second half, by surging almost one hundred points ahead of Hudsonville to grab the victory with a final score of 503. Hudsonville came in second with 404, followed by West Ottawa with 380, Grand Haven 260, East Kentwood 228, and Grandville 190.
The Rockford divers put on a solid performance in the second half, with four of them placing in the top sixteen spots. Junior Shane Phillips dove to a championship win with his first place performance of 383.50 points. Jake Herremans grabbed third with a score of 377.55, followed by Joel Slot in 11th (251.55), and Kellen Martella in 15th (220.30).
In the swimming pool, the Rams lowered their original state qualifying times in
the relays, with their third place finish in the 200yd medley relay of 1:37.45 seconds, (Wasberg, Newberger, T. Hoffmeister, and N. Willison). The 200yd free relay team of Bremmyr, Lemoine, T. Babcock, and Arend also pulled in third in 1:29.45 seconds, and the 400yd free relay team of Wasberg, N. Willison, T. Babcock, and Arend swam to second place with a time of 3:17.09.
Highlights of the meet for Rockford included adding two new state qualifiers to the eight individuals already qualified to swim at the Division 1 State meet in two weeks. Junior Chris Lemoine and freshman Corbin Bremmyr both qualified for state with their respective swims in the 50yd freestyle of 22.31, and 22.59. Sophomore Timmer Hoffmeister also picked up another individual state cut in the 100yd backstroke (55.54). Junior Craig Wasberg emerged as a double conference winner with his first place swims in the 100yd fly (53.87), and 100yd back (53.35).
Despite the Rams showcasing their depth by placing more than four swimmers in the top sixteen in some events on Saturday, as with every conference championship meet, only the top four swimmers from each team are able to score points for their respective team.
The top four scoring Rams in each event were:
200yd free -Arend (2nd), J. Fase (6th), B. Hoffmeister (15th), Hansen (16th)
200yd im -T. Babcock (3rd), Newberger (5th), Hams (13th)
50yd free -Lemoine (3rd), N. Willison (4th), Bremmyr (7th), Davis (8th)
100yd fly -Wasberg (1st), T. Hoffmeister (2nd), Davis (4th), C. Fase (8th)
100yd free -Lemoine (8th), Bremmyr (14th), Cutler (15th)
500yd free -Arend (2nd), J. Fase (3rd), Patino (7th), T. Willison (10th)
100yd back -Wasberg (1st), N. Willison (2nd), T. Hoffmeister (4th), Cress (6th)
100yd breast -Newberger (3rd), T. Babcock (4th), Isley (10th), Hams (11th)
Now that the conference finals are over, the Rams will shift their focus to the Division 1 State Meet that will take place at Holland, on Friday, March 8th. Currently, Rockford is ranked fourth in Division 1, behind third place Zeeland, second place Brother Rice, and first place Saline.