Boys swim and dive has successful season due to senior leadership


Sophomore Avery LeTourneau and FHN senior Henry Schutte were the nuts and bolts to the boys swim and dive team this year. They were the main leaders to the Rangers’ successful season and their 5-1 conference record.

Avery was an ironman for the team,” head coach Dennis Neat said. “His work ethic and strong mental preparations helped him through the season.”

Although Avery didn’t place first in every meet, he stepped up when the team needed him. In the State Meet, he took part in three out of the last four events on the day with only a maximum of 15 minutes of rest between each competition. Avery didn’t complain about the lack of rest, as he went on to swim some of his fastest times of the season. This wasn’t the only meet Avery stepped up and showed true leadership.

In the Rangers’ meet against the Northview Wildcats, Avery earned his first Division 1 State cut in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 53.03. He was one of the main reasons FH was able to secure its first conference win. Avery was also a part of two winning relays; he was in the 200-yard Medley Relay with senior Kaz Iwatsu. Avery and Kaz were also a part of the winning 200-yard Freestyle Relay, along with senior Charlie Krug. 

“I think Northview was our turning point,” Avery said. “Everyone came together and swam their hardest. Everyone was cheering on everyone, and I think this is when we swam like a team, not as individuals, and that changed our season.”

The Rangers then went on to swim in the West Michigan Relays, where they didn’t score as high as they would have liked. However, it did show them what they needed to work on in order to beat their rival East Grand Rapids.

During the FH Invitational, Henry showed his star power. He was the only swimmer to capture any event titles, as he took first in the 200-yard Freestyle with a time of 1:44.02 and in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 52.79. His swimming helped Forest Hills secure first place in this meet. Avery continued to show his sheer determination in this meet; he was able to place second in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:06.59, and he placed second in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 5:09.87. These two swimmers were the main reasons they won by only 1.5 points.

Avery and Henry weren’t the only things that helped the Rangers have a successful season. Senior leadership played a key role in the team’s record.

“We had fairly strong leadership on our team,” senior co-captain Will Clancy said. “There was a mix of roles between us all, and we all did our part in order to get the team to work hard and swim fast.”

Senior leadership helped the Rangers have a couple of successful meets before they faced off against East Grand Rapids. They went 2-1 in the Battle Creek Lakeview Quad, where senior Charlie Krug showed his speed in this meet. Charlie placed third in the 50-yard Freestyle, and he showed his leadership skills and helped cheer on the underclassmen.

The Rangers’ next meet was against Grand Rapids Catholic Central. FH was able to blow GRCC out of the pool and won the meet 113-69. In this meet, Charlie won the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 54.81, Avery placed first in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 54.81, and freshman Cole Hysong placed first in diving for the first time all season; he scored his career high of 222 points.

“Our meets leading up to EGR were awesome,” Avery said. “We swam our hardest, and I felt pretty prepared for our meet against them.”

In their first meet against EGR, the Rangers had an off day. The two weeks worth of snow days made it unable to practice for this meet and left them unprepared, and because of that FH lost the meet 108-78. This was the boys’ only loss on their conference record. In their second meet against EGR, the Rangers were prepared, being extra motivated since this meet determined who would win the conference. The meet was very close the entire time, and, at one point, the Rangers were leading. Unfortunately, the Pioneers got ahead towards the end and won the meet.

The first meet was tough for the Rangers, but that didn’t stop Henry. He was able to place first in the 200-yard Freestyle with a time of 1:14.00 and in the 100-yard Freestyle with a time of 47.33. Henry wasn’t the only one who captured event titles, as Avery placed first in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 22.57 and the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 53.53. Freshman Benji Zorn, who shows a promising future, was able to place first in the 100-yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:05.20.

Despite finishing second in the conference, Neat was proud of the team.

I’m proud of what our 31 first-year athletes accomplished this year and just how competitive we were able to be,” Neat said. “I’m proud of how far this team improved overall, and finishing second in the conference was an incredible result with the development of each athlete. We now are in a very good place to go back and try to win it again.”

The Rangers are planning on getting into the pool during the offseason. They also are planning on getting stronger in the weight room. Overall, they will be pushing each other to become the best swimmers they can.

“Forest Hills swimming and diving is something special,” Will said. “When you see us on the pool deck, we don’t look like a winning team or even act like one, but we are one; we couldn’t be one without every swimmer on the team.”