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) […]
Rockford Rams Swim/Dive Team
There couldn’t have been a more appropriate occasion for the Rams to host Senior Night than on their last OK Red dual meet of the season at Rockford’s home pool on Thursday, Feb. 17. It was a bittersweet ending to a perfect conference dual meet record, as the Rams beat the Grandville Bulldogs 196-116, making them 10-0 for the season. Head Coach Tom Parks had nothing but words of praise for his seven seniors: swimmers, captain Ben Fredrickson, Victor Lima, captain Jared Martella, Tim Newberger, captain Jeff Schmitt, and divers, captain LJ McCauley and Kurt Plaggemars. Parks boasted, “This is the first group of seniors that I have ever coached in which the entire senior class has scored at conference. They are truly a diverse group, but have all worked together and become tremendous leaders with a strong work ethic.” Diving Coach Mark VanDyken agreed, “Our two senior divers have led their younger teammates by example. Kurt never quits until he gets it right, and LJ fulfills his role as captain very well by bringing a positive and fun attitude to diving, which makes all the hard work fun.” It was a night of mixed emotions, as Parks introduced the seniors to the audience one by one, while the younger Rams stood in a line and firmly shook the hands of their senior leaders and said goodbye. For some it was hard to hold back the tears, as they realized that this would be the last time that these Rockford seniors and their younger teammates would swim together on this deck. Parks admitted, “It has been an absolute pleasure to have coached these guys. They will be truly missed.” As for the senior swimmers and divers, they had some words of wisdom about their experience over the years of being on the team. Senior captain Martella, whom Parks doted as a “hard worker,” admitted, “Swimming on the high school team is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and probably will ever do… getting up so early, the grueling workouts. Yet, if I had to do it again, I would still swim. It gives you discipline, and a sense of commitment, and helps you to become a better student.” Newberger, whom was described by […]
31 medals, one state-qualifying time by DENISE WEBB At the beginning of the season, Rockford Head Coach Tom Parks commented that it was going to be a tough OK Red conference season for Rockford’s swim/dive team. The truth of this statement became evident on December 19 at the West Michigan Relays held at the Holland Aquatic Center. Of the 14 participating high school teams, the top three were from the OK Red conference, and the final scores revealed the intense competitiveness between these teams. Grandville won with 318 points, followed by Rockford (314) and West Ottawa (306). “Even though we lost by four points,” said Rockford senior co-captain Brian Ginebaugh, “we are happy with the results. Several teammates swam personal bests. Also, the entire team was exhausted, coming off of several weeks of tough training, so we actually performed better than we thought we would.” The tough training Ginebaugh mentioned includes one-hour practices before school and intense two-and-a-half-hour practices after school. All this water time equates to more than 6,000 miles swam collectively by the team within the first 20 days of practice. The meet provided ongoing excitement with more than 400 swimmers and divers performing in front of packed bleachers and a two-deep standing crowd. Rockford placed first in three of the 11 events: the 200-yard breaststroke (Derik Bothma, Ginebaugh, Jared Martella and Brian Wasberg; 1:56.56), the 200-yard butterfly (Alex Devries, Ben Fredrickson, Josh Travis and Wasberg; 1:40.47), and the 200-yard medley relay (Bothma, Devries, Ginebaugh and Connor Thelen; 1:42.45). The 200-yard medley relay team swam an impressive state-qualifying time, which was more than two seconds faster than the required 1:45.19. This event was the second state-qualifying time for Devries and the third for Bothma. During the diving portion of the meet, Rockford’s team of senior Tyler Johnson and juniors LJ McCauley and Kurt Plaggemars placed second with a combined score of 311.20 points. Once the meet ended, Rockford had earned 31 medals and one state-qualifying time. The medals earned include: • 200-yard breaststroke—first place, 1:56.56, seniors Bothma and Ginebaugh, junior Martella, sophomore Wasberg. • 200-yard butterfly—first place, 1:40.47, senior Devries, junior Fredrickson, and sophomores Travis and Wasberg. • 200-yard medley relay—first place, 1:42.45 (state-qualifying), seniors Bothma, Devries, Ginebaugh and Thelen. • Diving—second […]
by DENISE WEBB Rockford Head Coach Tom Parks was all smiles at the end of his first swim/dive meet of the season not because Rockford won 115-61 against Byron Center, but because of how well the men performed both as a team and individually. “We graduated last year some very fast swimmers with impressive state times,” said Parks. “I was concerned as to how those spots would be filled. If the results of this meet are any indication of how the rest of the season plays out, I’ll be very pleased.” During this meet, there were many accomplishments. Rockford took first place in every event. Also, senior Derik Bothma swam a state-qualifying time of 49.99 in the 100-yard freestyle. Moreover, 13 swimmers and two divers fulfilled their varsity letter requirements, including freshmen Mike Arend, Trenten Babcock and Nick Willison. Diving coach Marc VanDyken was also pleased with the outcome of this first meet. Senior diver Tyler Johnson and junior diver Kurt Plaggemars both scored personal bests, 212.40 and 188.65, respectively. “Kurt and Tyler have both worked very hard, and it has obviously paid off,” said VanDyken. “Tyler placed 14th at state last year and is looking to make his senior year his best.” The Rams’ next meet will be at Rockford on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m. against Grand Haven.