The Rockford Rams women’s swimming and diving team kick-started their season with a score of 352 points at the West Michigan Relays meet on Saturday, Sept. 8. Only West Ottawa had a higher score of 372 points. The Rams made their presence known early in the meet. The 200-yard breaststroke relay team of Morgan Lipe, Kristen Schnelle, Marissa Marion and Kennedy Cutler came back in the last 50 yards to win with a time of 2:08.81. The 400 IM relay team of Hannah Raymond, Marion, Kara Vandawater and Cutler also came in first, beating West Ottawa by over six seconds with a time of 4:12.45. Maddi Trimble, Schnelle, Erin Hudson and Cutler grabbed another first place for Rockford in the 200-yard butterfly relay with a time of 1:49.70. The Rams also placed second in the 200 back, 400 IM, and 200 free relay. The Rams next compete against Holland and Mercy in a tri-meet on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Holland Aquatics Center.
The Division I state meet was held at Eastern Michigan University the weekend of November 18. While the meet was filled with some very impressive swims and dives, the Rockford Lady Rams fell short of their goals and expectations. The state team consisted of seniors Macie DeGraaf, Emilie Hahne, Maddie Levine, Morgan Longberg, Alaina Smith, Sarah Smith and Casey Wolfer; juniors Adrianna Craft, Kennedy Cutler, Morgan Lipe, and Kristen Schnelle; sophomore Kara Vandawater; freshmen Delayni Kornak-Kotarba, Dakota Noble and Megan Schremp. With this year’s state meet the fastest in history, S. Smith was able to break into the top 16 on Friday’s preliminaries, which secured her a place in Saturday’s finals. She qualified in both of her individual events, placing 13th in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:10.78. In the 100-yard butterfly she placed 14th with a time of :58.52. Rockford placed 10th in the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1:50.47 with a team of Vandawater, Cutler, S. Smith and Wolfer. The 200-yard freestyle relay team also placed 10th in a time of 1:38.66 with the team of Noble, Levine, Cutler and Wolfer. The only top eight finish for Rockford was eighth place in the 400-yard freestyle in 3:36.09 with a team of Hahne, S. Smith, A. Smith and Wolfer. Although the Rockford team had higher expectations for the state meet, 2011 had many great moments which should not be lost. The Lady Rams lost only one dual meet all year, a non-conference meet to Division II state champion Holland. The Rockford girls were impressive in rolling through the OK Red conference and dominating the conference meet on their way to a championship. They saw several swimmers establish personal bests, and Vandawater, Cutler, S. Smith and Wolfer set a new school record in the 200-yard medley relay. As the 2011 season comes to an end, we remember the three-and-a-half other months that were filled with great swims, great victories and great memories.