Swim teams prepare to open season against Wisconsin-Milwuakee
After months of offseason workouts and practices, the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s swim teams are eager to start competing in the 2012-2013 season.
The Lakers will open their season this Friday in Allendale against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“We’ve been working hard since day one as a team,” said head coach Andy Boyce, who last year was named GLIAC Men’s Coach of the Year. “We came into the season in good shape. We’ve been itching to race since we’ve just been training. Having the first meet here Friday night against Wisconsin-Milwaukee will be a good test for us.”
GVSU’s men and women are coming off second place finishes in the GLIAC conference, right behind Wayne State University. Nationally, the women finished sixth, while the men secured an eighth place finish.
“We’re just getting things rolling here,” Boyce said. “We’re looking to be competitive within the conference. Every year we’re fighting for a conference championship and we want to inch our way up on the national level.”
On the men’s side, the Lakers will have to deal with replacing Aaron Beebe, who last year became GVSU’s first national champion in school history, taking first in the 200 IM. The men’s team will hope that they can fill the void left by Beebe and others by stepping up and having freshmen fill key roles.
“Last year we lost a couple big seniors,” said senior Derek Mead. “It’s going to be having guys step up this year. We have a big freshman class, so it’s going to be our returners and our new guys stepping up and fill those holes we’re trying to replace from last year.”
The men will look to count on Mead in the mid-distance freestyle and sophomore Milan Medo in the sprint freestyle IM’s.
Boyce is hopeful that these two will lead the team. “We’re looking to lean on those guys and see what they can do,” Boyce said.
On the women’s side, expect GVSU to be led by junior Caitlyn Madsen in the backstroke and butterfly. Junior Kirsten Emerson will anchor the Lakers in distance races, and junior Danielle Vallier is one of the team’s strongest backstroke swimmers.
“It’s definitely coming together real well,” Madsen said. “We have a very young team this year. The freshmen are stepping up and showing that they’re here to work and that they want to help the team as much as they can, and the upperclassmen are showing them how the team is run.”
GVSU has one intersquad meet under their belt, but they are looking forward to the opportunity to race in competition against different schools. The Lakers will look to be pushed by their competition.
“It’s super exciting to be able to start competing now,” Madsen said. “We’ve just been practicing and racing each other, and now we’ll get to race other people. It’ll push us to our limit and we’ll be able to go faster and compete more.”
While it may be early in the season, the Lakers have already set their sights on the GLIAC championship. Last year, Wayne State topped the GVSU’s men 872-801 and the GVSU women 923-599.5.
“Like every year, our main goal is to win conference,” Mead said. “We want to come away with the conference championship. Wayne State is big competition and that is definitely our primary goal to beat them and win conference, and we want to have a strong showing at nationals.”