GVSU swim and dive men finish fourth and the women fifth at NCAA nationals
Leonie Van Noort and Brand Dalrymple each claimed individual titles
It was that time of year again.
The time for Brad Dalrymple and Leonie Van Noort to win another national championship.
Starting Wednesday, March 8, and wrapping up Saturday, March 11, the Grand Valley State swim and dive team competed in the NCAA Division II National Championships. The men finished in fifth place with 237 points and the women finished in 11th place with 255 points. Queens (North Carolina) took home the national championship on both the men's and women's side.
“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get in the top four and bring home the trophy,” said GVSU coach Andy Boyce. “But fifth place for the men and 11th place for the women isn’t bad either. We just lost a few points here and there.”
The Lakers had two returning champions on their squads. Van Noort won the 200-yard freestyle and the 1650 freestyle last season for the women. Dalrymple also won the 1-meter diving last season for the men.
At this year’s nationals, Dalrymple emerged national champion again, but this time in the 3-meter diving. His final score after 11 dives was 513.70. In the 1-meter dive he took second place with fellow Laker Jared Gregory finishing third. Dalrymple scored 513.15 on the one-meter and Gregory scored 501.10.
“It goes to show all the hard work being done,” Dalrymple said. “It feels really good to be called a national champion again.”
On top of being a national champion, Dalrymple was named Men’s Diver of the Year. Men’s diving coach Steve Burciaga was also named the Diving Coach of the Year.
As for Van Noort, she claimed another national champion title as well, but this time in the 500 freestyle. She finished with a time of 4:46.62, which was only about two-tenths of a second faster than the second place finisher from Nova Southeastern. She also finished second in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:49.18. Adding another top five finish, Van Noort claimed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:48.54.
She also finished fifth in the 800 freestyle relay with the team of Sam Postmus, Melina Goebel, and Megan Shaughnessy. Their final time was 7:24.75.
She didn’t stop there, though. Van Noort continued her performance into day four, finishing second in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:35.35.
"I'm very happy about it," Van Noort said. "I've worked for this all season ans it's nice to see that hard work pay off. I"m glad I chose Grand Valley, it has been a short but very wonderful experience. (Associate head coach) Justin Vasquez has been one of the best coaches I have had. I learned a lot from him."
For the men’s team, the 200 medley relay team took third place with a team consisting of Harry Shalamon, Marius Mikalauskas, Gabriel Souza and Ben Walling. Their final time was 1:27.98.
The men also took fifth in the 200 freestyle relay with a team of Gabriel Souza, Ben Walling, Danny Abbott, and JD Ham. The relay team touched the wall in 1:20.33.
Two names are consistent through the two relay teams—Walling and Souza.
Souza claimed third for himself in the 100 butterfly with a time of 46.66.
Walling, who was a part of more than a few relays that all placed very well, also added a 10th place finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 44.34.
“Nationals was a great experience,” Walling said. “Every season you’re looking to improve and I think I’ve done that this season. Hopefully next season is the same.”
The Lakers will be out of commission until next fall, in that time they just plan to take it one step at a time.
“We’re going to finish off the recruiting class for next year and we’re returning a lot of our men,” Boyce said. “For the women, we’re returning a lot of national qualifiers also. Next season we should be better than ever.”
The men are graduating five seniors, and the women are graduating six. The team next season should be one of the stronger teams that GVSU swim and dive has seen.