Rockford Swim/DiveTeam

Rockford swim/dive team dominates invitational, earns 11 medals

January 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

  Yes, Rockford’s swim/dive team had an “epic, victorious, stupendous, awesome, sweet finish,” said junior Jared Martella, trying to best describe a day of indescribable feats. “Parks was even surprised,” added Martella, talking about Rockford’s head swim/dive coach Tom Parks. The invitational began Friday night, Jan. 8, with the diving portion. Sixteen divers performed 11 dives each. Rockford’s divers senior Tyler Johnson, juniors LJ McCauley and Kurt Plaggemars, and freshman Noah Markel placed third, fourth, eighth and 11th, respectively. Even though Rockford didn’t place first individually, the Rams won the event by earning the most points overall. The top three dive teams were Rockford with 48 points, followed by Jenison (38) and Grand Haven (32). “We scored almost 50 points of the possible 155. That says a lot about our divers,” said diving coach Marc VanDyken. “I’m very proud of them. With the exception of one team, our entire conference was here. This invitational has given me a good idea as to how we might finish at the conference meet.” Rockford’s wins and the excitement continued on Saturday from the first swimmer off the block to the last swimmer to touch the wall. Immediately, Rockford positioned itself in the lead in total points earned with the help of two relay teams comprised of sophomore Eric Chisholm, seniors Devries, Brian Ginebaugh and Connor Thelen (1:43.57, state-qualifying time); and juniors Ben Fredrickson and Martella, sophomore Josh Travis, and freshman Nick Willison (1:45.48). These two relay teams completed the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, with second- and fourth-place finishes. This event had such close competition that the swimmers in every lane seemed to be propelling themselves in synchronized motion. the 200-yard IM, when sophomore Bryan Wasberg, junior Jeff Schmitt, Travis and Willison placed first (2:05.81), third (2:08.96), fourth (2:09.29) and seventh (2:13.25), and collectively earned more than 40 percent of the possible 155 event points. Rockford advanced by 34 points from second-place holder West Ottawa. After an exciting battle for first place in event four, the 50-yard freestyle, Rockford senior Derik Bothma fell to Grand Haven senior Sam Schulze by a mere few one-hundredths of a second. Overall, the Rams again had four swimmers place in the top 16 point-generating slots in an event. These four swimmers […]

Rams swim/dive team battle with conference favorite West Ottawa

October 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Swim/dive meets don’t get any closer than the October 22 battle between conference favorite West Ottawa and the formidable Rockford Rams. To set the stage, both teams are packed with depth and speed. It’s the final home meet for the Lady Rams, complete with Senior Night ceremonies, the Rockford High School chamber singers serving up an A+ rendering of the “National Anthem,” and then the deafening roar of the crowd. On paper, the Rams are the underdogs. What remains to be seen is what happens in the water. The meet begins with Rockford taking second and third in the 200 medley relay. Things are looking good for the Lady Rams, with Casey Wolfer, Morgan Lipe, Erica Cutler and Taylor Hutson going a quick 1:55.44, followed by teammates Morgan Longberg, Rachael Romain, Taylor Downs and Kennedy Cutler with a 1:58.25. Race one was victory for the Rams. West Ottawa was not daunted, and came back with first-, second- and fourth-place finishes in the 200-yard free. Sarah Smith (2:01.94) took third just .08 behind second place, and her twin Alaina Smith took fifth with 2:04.26. Lexy Caster and Holly Nauta went sixth and seventh respectively. The score advantage went to West Ottawa. In the third event, the Rams went first, fourth and sixth (Jessica Cutler, Romain, Lipe), with a neck-and-neck finish for third and fourth place. West Ottawa was beginning to gain momentum, and the first half of the meet, as Head Coach Tom Parks remarked afterward, “was not how we had hoped. We stumbled a bit—we had some illness, but so did they.” The 50 freestyle—the last race before diving—is always quick and always a nail biter. Sophomore Wolfer swam tough with a fast 25.62, just getting tapped out for first by West Ottawa’s Amanda Teske. The Rams’ Jamie VanPortfliet and Lauren Girard took fourth and fifth. The Rams’ divers literally put the bounce back in the swimmers for the second half of the meet, going second, third, fourth and fifth, with Erica Finlayson (202.50), Katie DeHaan (180.20), Macie DeGraaf (165.80) and Rita Synder (153.10) all scoring. For those in the crowd keeping a running score, the divers put the Rams back in the meet, and there was plenty of swimming to go. The sixth event, […]