Girls swim and dive defeats Spring Lake 99-79


State qualifying times, top five finishes, and Ranger wins were aplenty last night as the Girls Swim and Dive team defeated the Spring Lake Lakers 99-79. Senior co-captain Felicity Buchmaier continued her success last night, clocking in with two state-qualifying and pool record times, while junior Anna Hansen took first in diving to help lead the team to its first conference head-to-head win.

“I think I did well but there’s definitely room for improvement, ” Anna said. “I need to work on getting harder dives and perfecting the ones I already have. Overall though I’m happy; I got my personal record tonight and everybody did really well. The whole team coming out with a win was awesome.”

Major points came at the end for the Rangers during the relay portions of the meet. Four FHC relay teams competed in the 400 Freestyle Relay, placing first through fourth. In the 200 Freestyle Relay, FHC placed second, third, fourth, and fifth. Another first place relay finish came in the 200 Medley, within one second of a state qualifying time.

“[At practice] we focus a lot on sprints which is really important for relays because that’s where a lot of our points come from,” Felicity said. “If we can nail our sprints and exchanges, that’s what makes us successful.”

As much as the Lady Rangers can work as a team to rack up the points, individually they are just as strong in every event. Impressively, every event but two had FHC touching the wall first – and many times second, third, fourth, and fifth as well. The 100 Breaststroke’s top three finishers were all Rangers, sophomore Kaylyn Whitten taking first, freshman Rachel Schenk second, and sophomore Elena Folkert third. Jessica Schellenboom claimed first place in the 100 Backstroke with a state cut qualifying time. Also in that event, sophomore Maggie Zorn placed second, freshman Sarah Chesner fourth, and senior Lauren Ehrlich fifth.

The 500 Freestyle, a 20 lap marathon, was swept by freshman Olivia Hooper taking third, freshman Emily Johnson placing second, and Felicity Buchmaier claiming first with a time nearly 30 seconds under the state qualifying time.

Senior Abby Hier claimed the gold in the 100 Freestyle while sophomore Sarah Schenk placed first in the 100 Butterfly. The 200 Medley’s top places saw three more FHC swimmers, Olivia Hooper coming in first, followed by Emily Johnson and Maggie Zorn.

Two state qualifying times came out of the 200 Freestyle event by Felicity and Jessica, both of whom had state cuts in another event as well.

“I’m very proud of how the girls really stepped up to do a great job to start our conference performances,” Head Swim Coach Dennis Neat says in his first year of coaching for FHC. “We tried a lot of new events for a lot of kids and I just felt like they really embraced what they can do in this sport.” In addition to the usual top performers, the underclassmen contributed their speed, ten of them placing in the top five in their individual events.

Co-captain Felicity had nothing but praise for all of her teammates saying, “Absolutely everyone did fantastic tonight.”

FHC sweeps didn’t stop with swimming as the three FHC divers took gold, silver, and bronze last night. Senior Nicole Carlson took third and senior Colleen Kramer second in addition to reigning State Champion Anna’s first place. Ending with a total of 252.65 points, Anna came within three tenths of a point of setting a pool record at Spring Lake.

“We did great we had all season-high scores and lot of good performances,” Head Diving Coach Jasmine Ramahi states. “Overall I’m happy with how they did. It was great to come out to Spring Lake and our girls really made a statement. We’re excited to go into next week with this confidence.”

All in all, it was a great night to be on the FHC Swim and Dive team. Despite a few fine-tuning on techniques and mechanics mentioned by both coaches, the Rangers are looking strong heading into next week. FHC has another conference head-to-head meet against the Northview Wildcats on Tuesday, September 19.

“This was our first dual conference meet and I think it was a really good way to set the tone for the rest of the season.” Felicity says confidently. “If we keep doing what we do and keep having that passion every time we go out and swim I think we’ll be golden.”

Neat’s final thoughts are optimistic for the rest of the year.

“Overall I’m happy with the way things are going,” Neat said. “Being the new coach, it’s been a wonderful challenge to see how far I can keep pushing them and see if I can get them to have a wonderful season.”