Chippewas place fourth in Spring Lake Invitational

SPRING LAKE — The Manistee boys swimming/diving team returned to action Saturday after a lengthy winter break.

The Chippewas placed fourth of sixth teams in the Spring Lake Invitational with 272 total points. Meet host Spring Lake won the event with 510.5 while Northview placed second with 414, Ludington third with 408.5 and Fremont (fifth, 216.5) and Muskegon Mona Shores (sixth, 138.5) rounded out the field.

“The timing of this invitational is great,” said Manistee coach Nick Zacek. “All attending teams have spent the last two weeks over Christmas break training like animals, giving the athletes an opportunity to compete through pain.

“Everyone from all teams is exhausted, and — while it’s easier said than done — it’s crucial to train to race hard no matter the adversity.”

The Chippewas certainly did just that, as Zacek had several highlights to cite from his team’s outing.

Manistee’s Griffen Antal placed third in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:43.16, which is 13 seconds faster than his last race in the event. Eric Reague took fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in the time of 1:06.89 and diver Caspar Koskela placed eighth in his event while totaling 234.85 points through 11 dives.

Chippewa swimmers also clocked a number of personal-best times, including Dylan Johnson (24.96) and Luke Herberger (28.98), each in the 50-yard freestyle, and Harrison Harland in the 200-yard individual medley (2:54.18) as well as the 100-yard butterfly (1:21.03).

“Especially this past week, we continued to focus on the ‘little things’ that attribute to a swimmer’s skills — perfect streamline position; tighter starts; etc.,” Zacek said. “Many of these attributes played a good role in the improvement of many swimmers at today’s meet, which was especially satisfying to watch.

“On the contrary, there were also occasions when races weren’t swum quite as carefully, which resulted in painful mistakes like barely touching the wall on turns, causing serious momentum disruption,” he added. “This will be a great practice opportunity for us this coming week.”

Still, Zacek said, the meet was beneficial as the team prepares to take on the bulk of its schedule in the following weeks.

“All things considered, we saw over 10 personal best improvements in various races from our boys today,” Zacek said. “Every race presents itself with a unique opportunity to reflect on what went well, and what can be improved. Rest assured, we’ll be continuing to train to avoid painful mistakes, as well as to embrace the pain that comes with fast swimming.

“Swimming fast will hurt, but it’s a whole lot more fun in the end.”

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