Chip swimmers compete in Ludington dual meet, D3 Invitational

From left: Hogan Miller, Zach Lee, Griffen Antal and Sebastian Larsen enjoy some downtime at the Ludington dual meet. (Courtesy photo)

HOLLAND — Manistee boys swimming and diving has been keeping busy of late, competing in the D3 Invitational Saturday as well as a dual meet at Ludington Thursday.

“A meet like (Saturday’s) was a great test of physical and mental endurance,” said Manistee boys swimming and diving coach Nicholas Zacek. “Given that the meet bolstered 12 teams, roughly six heats of every race, and diving occurring at the same time, it made for a taxing meet which clocked in at just over four hours.”

The Manistee swimmers have been getting a lot of time in the pool, which should start to pay dividends as they progress through the season.

“Our guys especially came off a particularly difficult Thursday and Friday, where we swam an exceptionally heartfelt meet against Ludington, and then through an intense Friday of two brutal practices with school in the middle,” Zacek said.

Despite the grueling workload, some of the Chippewas were able to set personal bests at the D3 Invitational.

Seth Thompson set two PRs at the D3 Invitational, finishing the 50-yard freestyle in 25.8 and the 100-yard backstroke in 1:08. Anthony Erlandson also set a PR in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 36 seconds. Zach Lee finished the 100-yard freestyle in 54.78 for a PR, and Ben Sullivan had a PR in the 200-yard freestyle by finishing in 1:57.8.

Manistee should be afforded more recovery time as they head into a light competition schedule.

“For now, we’re all definitely excited to have the next two weeks where we only have one meet per week, and they both get to be home meets,” Zacek said. “Our boys always step up excellently for home meets, and we’re excited to see what they can produce when we take on Fremont on Thursday.”

In Thursday’s dual meet against Ludington, the Orioles took first with 104 points while the Chippewas amassed 81 points.

“Thursday night’s dual meet with Ludington may have easily been the best dual meet I’ve had the pleasure to coach in my now three years here,” Zacek said. “Our team this year is impressively adaptable at making good changes, and it showed in spades.”

Though Manistee could not secure a team win, a number of Chippewas had strong showings at the meet.

Griffen Antal recorded the first individual win of his varsity career in the 500-yard freestyle. He also took third in the 200-yard freestyle. Sebastian Larsen won the 100-yard butterfly and Ben Sullivan took first and third in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, respectively. Caden Schmutzler took first in the 100-yard freestyle and had a season best in the 50-yard freestyle, anchoring the 200-yard medley relay.

“Rest assured, every athlete on our team, along with my fellow coach Corey Van Fleet and I, went to bed proud of what was accomplished at the pool for that meet,” Zacek said. “Not only was this an exciting meet for all of our boys, but it was equally exciting for everyone attending. It’s such a satisfying feeling hearing praise from people of both teams about how fun a meet it was to watch.

Anderson Johns, Caspar Koskela, Evan Scarlata and Keaton Gajewski finished second, third, fourth and fifth in diving, scoring over 12 points.

“I’m sure I’ll sound like a broken record for each dual meet we have with them, but I can’t speak high enough praise about the family bond we have with Ludington’s team,” Zacek said. “Whether we’re both at invitationals together, or competing against each other in a close dual meet, the respect from swimmer to swimmer, diver to diver, and coach to coach is uplifting.

“We’re fortunate to be one of few sports teams in this conference that makes it that way, and I have to give Ludington head coach Kelley Hatch and her team so much credit for having a strong team culture as well.”

Anthony Erlandson, Luke Herberger, Harrison Harland, Eric Reague, Frederik Rahbek, Matthew Blevins and Hogan Miller also set season best times at the meet.

Manistee next competes in a home meet against Fremont at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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