GVSU men's swimming starts season with early undefeated record
The Grand Valley State men’s swimming and diving team finished last season strong by winning the GLIAC Championship. That success has spilled over into this season, as the Lakers have kicked off the year with a 5-0 start.
GVSU swimming and diving coach Andy Boyce has noticed a trend with how his team has been able to continue last year’s success.
“We have a good group of kids working hard toward repeating as conference champs, and we have a lot of depth,” Boyce said. “We have a good-sized team with strengths from top to bottom.”
But the job of coaching cannot only be done by Boyce, as his players have been called to step up leadership-wise. Luckily for Boyce, he’s found those exceptional captains within his team.
“Our captains, Grant Borregard and Marius Mikalauskas, they do a good job of making sure everybody knows what to expect,” Boyce said. “We are heading into the Calvin invitational this week, and for the freshmen, it’s their first time being in a big college meet. So, we will see what we can do, and hopefully our captains can help give some expectations.”
Boyce pointed out one of the swimmers on the team who has put in a lot of work since last season and is now seeing the results—sophomore Ahmed Nabih, who has already set school records in the breaststroke category.
“Nabih, he came in last year in December as a freshman and has really picked up his training, and his times at meets have been much better,” Boyce said. “Watching that development finally pay off is something that’s nice to see.”
After winning a GLIAC Championship, this year’s team is looking to not only accomplish that feat again but add upon it for more success down the road.
“It’s always our goal to win a conference title and to see how many people we can qualify for the national championships,” Boyce said. “If we qualify a good number of people, we will finish high on the national level. We can’t control what other teams do, but we know if we qualify enough people for the national championships, we’ll be one of the top in the country.”
Being one of the top teams in the country is nothing new to this team. Two years ago, they were ranked seventh nationally and ranked fifth last season. The team is able to do this by training hard in practice with different regimens to prepare themselves.
“For the majority of the season, we are doing three morning practices a week and five afternoons, so our time commitment and energy put forth is really demanding," Boyce said. "It’s a matter of being dedicated to the sport and working hard not only in the pool but also in the weight room and doing dry land, too.”
Academic excellence is very important to Boyce as well. The team realizes that their futures and careers largely exist outside of the pool.
“Balancing both academics and athletics is key,” Boyce said. “Our swimmers and divers do a great job of getting it done in the classroom. We were scholar all-Americans last year as a team, so that was nice to see.”
The GVSU swimming and diving team has their first big meet of the year on Thursday, Nov. 30, as they travel to Calvin College to compete in the Calvin College Invitational through Saturday, Dec. 2.