In a dramatic meet that came down to the final race, the boys swim and dive team tied the large and talented Grand Rapids Christian swim team.
Junior Avery LeTourneau led the team, winning two races and finishing the 400 freestyle relay that won the meet for the Rangers. Ties are very rare in swimming, so this was an exceptionally exciting meet to watch. Sophomore Will Becker enjoyed the outcome.
“I didn’t even know you could tie in swimming,” Will said jokingly.
The meet opened with a very close loss in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of senior CJ Hier, sophomore Benji Zorn, freshman Ben Rogala, and Avery barely lost with their time of 1:41.67, just .06 seconds under Christian’s time of 1:41.03.
Avery turned the tides with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle. Avery secured the time of 1:50.30, blowing Christian’s 1:59.87 out of the water in a great win for the Rangers. CJ followed this up with a second-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley with his time of 2:07.36.
Ben then took first in a close 50-yard freestyle race. His time of 23.55 was again just .06 seconds faster than GRC’s. The diving event was very successful, with Cole Hysong getting a personal best with an impressive score of 259.75. This won the event for the Rangers and continued the close, back-and-forth meet.
Avery won another race in the 100-yard fly with his time of 52.69. This was followed up by another win for the Rangers by Ben, who took the 100-yard freestyle with his time of 51.25. A trifecta of wins for the Rangers was completed by Andrew Kerssies, who won the 500-yard freestyle with his time of 5:26.46.
Unfortunately, the next three events would be losses for the Rangers, kicked off by a second-place finish by senior Dani Ahmetovic, sophomore Aden Pomeroy, freshman Isaac Stewart, and Benji in the 200-yard freestyle relay with their time of 1:38.6. Next, CJ took second in the 100-yard backstroke with his time of 56.12, and Gavin Cai took second in the 100-yard breaststroke with his time of 1:07.93.
At this point, the Rangers were in trouble. They needed to take first and second place in the 400-yard relay to tie the meet.
Head coach Dennis Neat did some reshuffling of the teams to better balance them, and the plan worked beautifully. Senior Kyle Carter, sophomore Francesco Roveri, sophomore Roman Kalaczinski, and Avery took first with their time of 3:34.32. Sophomore Sam Yeager, Isaac, CJ, and Ben then took second place, beating out Christian’s A team and tying the meet at the final event.
“I’m glad some of our underclassmen stepped up at the end of the meet to put this race together; it was a team win,” said Benji on the meet overall.
“It feels really great,” said Avery on the final race. “It was a highlight of the meet and a very hype moment for the team.”
This was a very dramatic finish to a great meet, ending in a rare tie. This was the first true dual meet of the season, and the Rangers had a lot to prove with this being their first season as an FHC only team. The meet showed that the Rangers were not to be trifled with and could hang with the larger teams in their area, as well as slingshotting the Rangers into the latter part of the season as they look towards next week at the Battle Creek Lakeview Quad.
“This will be a huge boost of confidence for team going forward,” Neat said. “It should give us a lot of momentum going into the second half of our season.”