Tom Parks

Rockford Swim/Dive Defeated by One Point

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford 157, West Ottawa 158 by DENISE WEBB There wasn’t a shortage of excitement on Thursday, Feb. 12, as the Rockford and West Ottawa swim and dive teams walked onto the natatorium deck, both undefeated. As bodies, arms, legs and water flew for more than two hours, the winner of the evening remained a mystery until the very last seconds of the meet. The concluding results, unfortunately, didn’t favor Rockford. The Rams lost to West Ottawa by the smallest of margins, 157-158. “It was anyone’s meet,” said Coach Tom Parks. “Like Rockford, West Ottawa’s team has depth and a very talented bench. We upset West Ottawa in some key events, but they surprised us with major wins in others. Bottom line: it was a great effort by both teams.” Throughout the meet, the overall score remained uncomfortably close. Many events ended with only a few hundredths of a second separating first and second place, such as the match-up between Max Olson of West Ottawa (49.92) and Tyler Augustine of Rockford (49.98) in the 100-yard freestyle. During the first three events, the Rams held a slight advantage of 12 points, but following the fourth event (50-yard freestyle), the score had dropped to Rockford 54, West Ottawa 51. From that point on, the score remained intensely consistent with only a slight difference. Throughout the last four events, West Ottawa and Rockford flip-flopped for the lead. Going into the final event, the 400-freestyle relay, Rockford was down by three points, 147-150. To win, the Rams had to place either first and second or first and third. The relay team of Augustine, Alex Devries, Andrew Sakala and Bryan Wasberg placed first, but West Ottawa’s deep bench of energized freestylers unfortunately out-swam Rockford for second and third places. When reviewing the stats, it becomes clear that many swimmers from both teams swam personal bests, and several swimmers finished in state-qualifying times. Of the 12 events, eight had the first-place winner swimming a state-qualifying time, and of these eight, five had the second-place finisher also securing a state cut. “Yes, there was a lot of speed demonstrated at this meet,” said Sakala. “West Ottawa’s team has gained a tremendous amount of depth, after losing only a few key seniors from last […]

Second Place, 23 Medals earned by Rockford 9/10 Swimmers, Divers

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Very pleased with the outcome of the Saturday, Feb. 7, Freshman/Sophomore Swim/Dive Invitational, Rockford’s coaching staff couldn’t voice enough praises about their team. Rockford placed second behind powerhouse Zeeland, out of eight West Michigan schools (Byron Center, East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Grandville, Jenison and West Ottawa) competing in this event hosted by Grandville. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said head coach Tom Parks. “Many of them swam their personal bests.” The results of this invitational exhibit Rockford’s extreme competitiveness for several years to come. Of the 12 events, the Rams placed at least once, and sometimes twice or three times, in 10 of them and brought home 23 medals. Many of the events had more than 35 participants vying for a top spot, but only the first eight winners in individual events and the leading three teams in relays won medals. The Rams who brought home “hardware” were sophomores Ben Fredrickson (first, second and two fifth places), Jared Martella (one eighth place), LJ McCauley (one fifth place), Tim Newberger (two seventh places), Kurt Plaggemars (one eighth place) and Jeff Schmitt (first, second, fifth and seventh), and freshmen Eric Chisholm (one first place), Josh Travis (two second places and one fourth), Bryan Wasberg (three first places and one second) and Harrison Webb (fourth and sixth). Other swimmers who earned points for the team were sophomore Dominick Sheridan and freshmen Ben Pitts, Cam Cross, Daniel Newberger and Alex Savage. “Everybody worked really hard. It was a good meet. But look out next year Zeeland!” said freshman Allyn Kinney. Medal winners are as follows: 200-yard medley relay – Ben Fredrickson, Jeff Schmitt, Josh Travis, Bryan Wasberg (second place) 200-yard IM – Bryan Wasberg (first place); Josh Travis (fourth); Jeff Schmitt (seventh) 50-yard freestyle – Ben Fredrickson (fifth) 1-meter diving – LJ McCauley (fifth); Kurt Plaggemars (eighth) 100-yard butterfly – Ben Fredrickson (fifth) 100-yard freestyle – Harrison Webb (sixth); Tim Newberger (seventh) 500-yard freestyle – Jeff Schmitt (fifth) 200-yard freestyle relay – Eric Chisholm, Ben Fredrickson, Jeff Schmitt, Bryan Wasberg (first) 100-yard backstroke – Josh Travis (second); Harrison Webb (fourth); Tim Newberger (seventh) 100-yard breaststroke – Bryan Wasberg (first); Jared Martella (eighth)