It was a bittersweet moment for the GVSU Swim club as they ended their season with the biggest meet of the year. Eight swimmers flew down to Atlanta, Georgia for Nationals where they competed against 115 teams and a total of 2,001 swimmers. They scored a total of 4 points and it came from Veronica Lidy in her 400 IM (5:14.13). We had some career best swims from some of our swimmers. Shaun Walkowiak (freshman) swam at his first nationals meet and had some killer times. Walkowiak competed in four different relays and swam one individual event.
His individual event was the 50 backstroke (27.55) where he dropped 0.39 milliseconds. Walkowiak said, “I had a great time with all of my teammates, cheering them on and swimming with them. It definitely encourages me to make the cut again next year to experience it again!” We had six other swimmers who competed for their first time at nationals as well ( Jonah Cox, Dom Ferracciolo, Erin Marshall, Jay Patterson, and Rachel Patterson). Cox swam the 50 backstroke (28.29) as well along with four relays. Ferracciolo competed in four relays and the 50 breaststroke (29.16) where he dropped 1.34 seconds. Marshall swam three relays and one tough individual event of the 200 butterfly (2:32.66). Jay Patterson swam four relays and competed in two individual events of the 50 butterfly (24.76) and the 50 freestyle (22.92). Jay also broke the 50 butterfly record. Last but not least, Rachel Patterson competed in three relays and four individual events of 50 freestyle (26.91), 100 backstroke (1:06.68), 50 backstroke (30.72) and 100 freestyle (58.44). Rachel also had time drops in all her individual events. Our last two swimmers, Skylar Gottschalk and Veronica Lidy, both seniors, had competed in one other nationals their freshman year. Unfortunately, due to Covid, they lost two chances to swim at Nationals their sophomore and junior years. For these two swimmers it was sadly their last swim meet of their careers. Both Gottschalk and Lidy dropped time in every event they swam over the weekend. Gottschalk competed in three relays and four individual events of 100 breaststroke (1:16.55), 50 backstroke (31.79), 50 breaststroke (34.68) and the 100 IM (1:08.28). Lidy swam
in three relays and three individual events of 400 IM (5:14.13), 200 IM (2:26.99), and the 200 Freestyle (2:11.63). It was a bit of a stressful meet for the team and a happy but sad ending for the seniors. But this meet will be one these eight swimmers never forget.
On February 26th the GVSU swim club traveled to Michigan State University for the MSUSC Spring Invitational. It was their last meet of the season before the Nationals meet. Out of the eight teams that attended Grand Valley placed fifth with 189 points. The women's team scored 142 placing 3rd overall and the men's team scored 47 finishing in eighth place. Freshman, Rachel Patterson, had some great swims at her first swim meet of the season. She made a National cut in her 100 backstroke (1:09.40), 50 freestyle (27.20), 100 freestyle (1:00.30), and her 50 backstroke split for the woman’s 200 medley relay (31.33). Patterson earned us a total of 22 points in all of her individual events combined. Another freshman, Jay Patterson (No Jay and Rachel are not related) had some stellar swims that also landed him two Nationals cuts. One in his 50 freestyle (22.85) and another one in his 50 butterfly (25.30). Jay earned us a total of 23 points. The freshman of this meet pulled through. Another freshman Brianna Potter attended the MSU meet and it was the first meet they swam in of the season. Potter went into this meet with no times but left with some killer times. Needless to say, everyone did a phenomenal job and it was a great meet to end the season. The next stop is nationals April 8th-April 10th. We wish our nationals team of Jonah Cox, Dom Ferracciolo, Skylar Gottschalk, Veronica Lidy, Erin Marshall, Jay Patterson, Rachel Patterson, and Shaun Walkowiak the best of luck as they finish out their season.
The GVSU swim club made the two-hour drive to Sturgis, MI for the Laker Invitational. It was the GVSU swim club's first and only home meet of the 2021-2022 season. The theme was Hawaiian and our swimmers pulled through on that theme. Leis, bucket hats, and flower shirts were worn by our swimmers as we prepared for a great meet. The Lakers crushed it and won the meet with a whopping 1,253 points against Western Michigan’s swim club and Central’s swim club. The women’s 200 medley relay of Erin Marshall, Skylar Gottschalk, Anna Cornell, and Rosie Champion started strong with a first-place finish. Allison Shenefield had an amazing swim with a first-place finish in her 100 freestyle (59.36) that landed her a National time. Shenefield also swam a National’s cut in her 100 IM (1:09.05) with yet again another first-place finish. Veronica Lidy also made two nationals cuts in her 400 IM (5:36.90) and 200 IM (2:31.39). Ethan Thomas had a personal best in his 100 butterfly (1:01.15). Freshman, Katie LaFave, had some good swims at her first-ever laker invitational. She said, “ A fun memory I had at the meet was the Hawaiian theme. I remember that I was already wearing a pink lei but Lilly camp was like Katie put on this purple one too so we can match. Then we took a quick video with our leis on.” For Katie swimming isn’t all about times it’s also about the memories and friendships you make. The swimmers enjoyed themselves and also enjoyed getting to go down the slide at the end of the meet.
The GVSU swim club traveled to Northwestern University on February 5th, 2022 for the Rubber Ducky Invitational. There were a total of 11 teams there and GVSU placed 10th with 6 points, also tying with DePaul University. Of those points, the women scored 4 points, putting them in 11th. The men of the team scored 2 points, putting them in 11th as well. We had some outstanding swims and even gained a few more national cuts from Skylar Gottschalk and Madison Fisher. Our men's 200-yard freestyle relay of Jonah Cox, Jacob Joanis, Adam Affer, and Shaun Walkowiak had a great swim and each leg did a superb job with an all-together time of 1:42.13 putting them in 14th place. Veronica Lidy scored us 2 points with her strong swim in the 200 yard IM (2:36.55) where she dropped some time from her original seed time. The remainder of the women’s 4 points also came from Veronica Lidy in her 200-yard freestyles that scored one point and Skylar Gottschalk in her 50-yard breaststroke scoring one point as well. Shaun Walkowiak had another outstanding swim in his 50-yard backstroke that gained the team another 2 points with a 7th place finish out of 14 swimmers in the event. Another good swim came from Megan Budai at her first meet of the year in her 100 yard IM (1:17.58) where she dropped three seconds from her seed time. Our swimmers did an amazing job despite waking up early, driving three and a half hours there, swimming their hearts out, eating Chicago deep dish pizza in the car, and finally driving back home. It was a long day but well worth it in the end.
Permanent link for GVSU Club Swim Competes at the College Club Swimming Central Regionals on January 11, 2022
On November fifth through the sixth, the GVSU swim club competed at the College Club Swimming Central Regionals in Madison Wisconsin. At the meet, 17 teams competed and we placed 15th overall with 48 points. 46 points coming from the women and 2 coming from the men. At this meet, we had some very good swims and even some national cuts. Shaun Walkowiak made his nationals cut in the 50 backstroke, Skylar Gottschalk made her nationals cut in the 50 breaststroke earning the team 5 points, and Erin Marshall made her nationals cut in the 200 butterfly earring 15 points for the team. Marshall said, “I had a lot of fun at this meet! I was so happy when I got a national cut, I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did. I loved swimming in a relay with my friends and getting to watch the other relays. Everyone did a really good job!” Our men's and women’s relays also had some good swims that earned us some points as well. An experience the whole team enjoyed and will remember is watching a swimmer from another team swim 1,000 yards of butterfly. Overall this meet had some great swims by all our swimmers and many great memories were made in Madison Wisconsin.
On December 4th, 2021 the GVSU swim club attended the NDSC Irish Invitational. They competed against a total of 15 teams, placing 13th overall with 67 points. 12 swimmers made the drive to Notre Dame, and for a few this was their first meet of the semester. Out of those 12 swimmers the women earned 33 points, putting them in 12th, while the men earned 34 points, putting them in 12th as well. Our distance swimmers of the meet, Jonah Cox and Veronica Lidy, earned us the most points. Lidy scored 9 points in the 200 IM (2:37.46) and 15 points in the 500 Freestyle (6:23.85). She contributed 24 points to the team. While Cox scored 9 points in the 500 Freestyle (5:43.44) and 9 points in the 100 Backstroke (1:03.76). He also gained us another 18 points. However, they weren’t the only ones to do good as we had a lot of great swims at this meet. Dom Ferracciolo earned us another 9 points with his swim in the 200 Breaststroke (2:29.77). Ferracciolo said that it felt good to get back in the water again. He enjoyed being with the team and getting the opportunity to cheer on his friends. Rosie Champion also had some good swims in her 50 freestyle (29.34), 50 butterfly (32.25), 100 IM (1:17.69), and her 50 breaststroke (39.00). Champion said, “Notre Dame was a great time! I did my personal best of the season and I believe that the team as a whole did pretty well! Though we didn’t get the most points of the meet, it was still a great environment all around! Everyone on the team was cheering and supporting each other the entire time. It was an amazing feeling to see the team be all together and happy to be there!”
After 587 days, Grand Valley State University’s swim club was finally able to compete again. The team traveled to Columbus, Ohio to attend Ohio State University’s Fall Invitational. There were fifteen other collegiate-level swim clubs competing. Of the teams in attendance, the GVSU swim club placed thirteenth with 66.5 points. 40.5 points belonged to the women of the GVSU swim club, putting them in eleventh place, and the remaining 26 points belonged to the men, putting them in twelfth place. Josh David was the high scorer for the men. David swam the 50 butterfly (24.78), 100 individual medley (1:00.24), and the 200 freestyle relay. Anna Cornell was the high scorer not only for the women but for the whole team. Cornell swam the 100 butterfly (1:08.89), 50 backstrokes (35.06), 25 freestyle (13.13), and the 200 medley relay. The team really enjoyed being able to get back in the pool again and put all of their training and hard work to good use. Newcomer Adam After said that for his first-ever college club swim meet, he really enjoyed the car ride to Ohio, the meet, and being able to compete at a Big 10 college. Another newcomer, Josie Kasmauski said it was one of the highlights of her year. GVSU Swim Clubs President Veronica Lidy commented, “For more than a year our team endured shortened practices and time trials instead of away meets, but competing at OSU made it all worth it. Our team had a great time running into friends from other schools, making new inside jokes, swimming at such a high-caliber facility, and above all else finally getting back into the spirit of competition. Swimming is all about perseverance and dedication to see results towards a goal. For the last year and a half we did just that and we got what we were after.” The team looks forward to competing at more meets in the near future.