Ram swimmers improve despite loss to Zeeland

From left to right: Logan Lovall, Ben Schuchardt, Matthew Weber, Asher Chino, Zach Burns, Kyle Arend


On Tuesday Jan. 10, the Rockford Men’s Swim & Dive Team traveled west to Zeeland for a dual meet against one of West Michigan’s historically most competitive men’s swim teams. Although they have no senior swimmers on the roster this year, the Rams displayed promising depth and clocked several personal best times to keep the score close in a 101-79 loss.

Rockford kicked off the night by capturing both 2nd and 3rd place in the 200 Yard Medley Relay. Once again, the relay team of Gavin McIntyre, Paul Sikkema, Jacob Newberger and Jack Sikkema finished just a few hundredths of a second off a State qualifying time in this event.

Rockford’s young roster of distance swimmers continued to exert their growing influence in the 200 Yard Freestyle where sophomores Zach Burns and Kyle Arend and freshman Matthew Weber all turned in season best times. Junior Jack Sikkema placed 3rd. In the 200 Yard Individual Medley, Jacob Newberger finished 2nd and Paul Sikkema swam a season best to take 4th place.

The next event was the 50 Yard Freestyle, where Josh Corder swam a season best to take 2nd and Spencer Nestle placed 4th. Zeeland has no divers on their team this year, so Karsten Dixon and Austin Hintz used this meet as a great opportunity to work on their routines as they added a 1st and 2nd place to Rockford’s team score.

In the 100 Yard Butterfly, Jacob Newberger placed 2nd and Josh Corder swam a lifetime best to take 3rd. Yet another significant time drop was turned in by sophomore Conner Dedert in the 100 Yard Freestyle where he placed 4th behind Jack Sikkema who took 2nd.

Rockford’s sophomore distance swimmers continued to display their growing strength when the meet moved on to the 500 Yard Freestyle. Zach Burns swam a season best time to take 3rd place and Kyle Arend peeled over eleven seconds off his personal best time to finish 4th.

One of the Rams’ few victories in the meet came when Jack Sikkema, Spencer Nestle, Josh Corder and Jacob Newberger finished just .02 off a State qualifying time to take 1st in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay. Rockford’s team of James Bird, Kyle Arend, Derek Zahnleuter and Conner Dedert placed 3rd in this event.

In the 100 Yard Backstroke, Gavin McIntyre placed 3rd and freshman Logan Lovall swam a season personal best to take 4th. Paul Sikkema swam to 2nd in the 100 Yard Breast Stroke followed by sophomore Dwight Hua who dropped his best time by nearly two seconds to place 4th. The night ended with Rockford’s team of Cameron Trimble, Kyle Arend, Spencer Nestle and Paul Sikkema placing 2nd in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay.

Despite losing the meet, Rockford Head Coach Mike Cutler was pleased with the ongoing improvement shown by the team and its younger swimmers. “We saw lots of season and personal best times tonight. Our underclassmen continue to get stronger and showed some great promise tonight, especially in the distance events. I’m looking forward to seeing what this bunch can do in our upcoming meets.”