Performance: Grosse Pointe South's Jacob Montague

March 17, 2016

Jacob Montague
Grosse Pointe South senior – Swimming

Montague already was going to graduate as one of the fastest swimmers in MHSAA history. But Saturday, he finished his final high school meet by setting Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals records in two events for the second straight season, earning the Michigan National Guard Performance of the Week.

Montague’s championship race time in the 200-yard individual medley of 1:47.40 at Saginaw Valley State University broke the record he set at last season’s Division 2 meet by nine tenths of a second. His 53.93 in the 100 breaststroke broke his previous meet record by 73 hundredths of a second. He also swam on a 200 medley relay that came in runner-up and a 400 freestyle relay that came in fourth.

Montague holds all eight individual swimming records at Grosse Pointe South and has been part of record medley and 400 freestyle relays. He is the son of former University of Michigan swimmer Andy Montague and started in the sport at an early age, but gave it up during middle school to play baseball and tennis. He returned to the pool as a freshman and played all three sports that year at South before injuring a knee and focusing on swimming the rest of his career. Montague will follow his dad to U-M and is considering majoring in business.

Coach Eric Gunderson said: “In addition to setting new D2 records in both of his individual events, Jacob made a huge contribution to our relays. His breaststroke on the medley relay was incredibly fast … and his anchor leg of the 400 free relay was really fun to watch as he caught up to people at the end of it. Jacob is quite talented, but he also has an amazing work ethic. It has been a privilege for everyone to watch and to be a part of his success and dramatic improvement over the course of four years. It will be exciting to see what he can achieve going forward.”

Performance Point: “I’d say the most fun parts were the relays this year. We finished second in the medley relay and fourth in the 400 free relay, and our 400 free relay brook our school record set in 2010. That’s what was most exciting for us; we were a little off it from prelims, and we said that’s our goal. It wasn’t about place; it was about breaking that record. I was happy with my individual swims as well. I was hoping to go a little faster, but for where I’m at with my season with my taper and everything, I was happy with my times.” 

Different this time: “My junior year, nobody really knew me. Everybody was expecting other people to win. Other people were seeded higher than me going into the meet, and I had nothing to lose. I would just go for it. This year there was a little more pressure having won last year. But I tried my best not to think about that really, just to focus on swimming. And it still turned out well.”

Destination reached: “It definitely was a long journey, a lot of hard work and a lot of practices the past three years. My mind was on one goal – to be the best I can be. Definitely at times I’d get tired of it, worn out going in every day for three hours and swimming back and forth. But you get to the end of the season, you’re feeling better, swimming faster, and it pays off at the end. I didn’t really have any expectations my freshman year, especially. I was just excited to be part of a team. And our team has been good since my freshman year as a whole, and I was excited to be a part of that.” 

Pools of knowledge: “My dad, he’s definitely made a big impact. He doesn’t try to intrude on my training; I control what I do and make my own decisions what I do. But he definitely gives me pointers all the time. And also (Grosse Pointe South assistant and club coach) John Fodell. … He’s fixed my stroke, made me faster every day.”

Born to swim: “Especially my freshman year when I was getting back into it, it got monotonous. Every day, doing pretty much the same thing, back and forth, over and over for three hours. But as I improved and got better, I realized I can’t improve unless I enjoy the process of getting to that point. You have to enjoy the pain you feel during and after, being sore and what not. It’s almost soothing being in the pool. There’s nothing else to think about besides swimming."

– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.

Previous 2015-16 honorees
March 9: Kyle Tuttle, St. Charles boys bowling - Read
March 2: Brittney Schnicke, Caledonia girls bowling - Read
Feb. 24: Kamari Newman, Detroit East English boys basketball - Read
Feb. 17: Jason Whitens, Powers North Central boys basketball - Read 
Feb. 10: Rachel Hogan, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Read
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Jacob Montague swims the individual medley during Saturday's Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final. (Middle) Montague swims the breaststroke; he won both races. (Click to see more at

Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium

By Jason Schmitt
Special for

March 11, 2023

ROCHESTER — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood edged top-seeded East Grand Rapids by one hundredth of a second Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Oakland University.

The Cranes celebrated their victory in the meet’s first event like they had just won the state championship. Little did everyone in attendance know that when all was said and done, that razor-thin margin would in fact be the difference, as Cranbrook captured its first Finals title since 2017. The Cranes totaled 271 team points, beating out the two-time reigning champion Pioneers (259) by 12 points. 

“I’m one of those coaches, I score out the psych sheet, I score out the entries and EGR was 11 points up on us coming into today,” Cranbrook head coach Paul Ellis said. “(Winning) that first relay, that was a 12-point swing. That got the snowball rolling, and we continued to feed off that and go fast.”

Freshman A.J. Farner, senior Ethan Schwab and sophomores Sean Lu and Joe Wiater got the win for Ellis’s team. Schwab and Wiater swam the top splits in their legs, with Wiater rallying his team to victory in the final freestyle leg.

“That win by one one-hundredth really set the tone for the meet,” Schwab said. “It was great to come out with my team and have fun in the first relay and then bring the energy into the next event.”

Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. Schwab brought the energy to all four of his swims at the Finals. The Michigan-bound Schwab won three of the races he entered and set LP Division 3 Finals records in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke this weekend. His time of 1:48.23 in Saturday’s IM beat the record he set just a day earlier in the prelims. He then finished with a 54.31 in the 100 breaststroke, beating out Wayland’s Zachery Jenison by more than two seconds but falling just short of his record-setting time of 54.04, set in Friday’s preliminary round.

Schwab was named Swimmer of the Meet by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for his efforts, which also included a runner-up finish as part of the 400 freestyle relay.

Cranbrook’s 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Robbie Sarle, senior Christos Tzoumakas, Wiater and junior Will Farner beat out top-seeded and 2022 event champion Grand Rapids Christian for the win. It was one of four victories for the Cranes.

“It was just a phenomenal team effort from top to bottom,” Ellis said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone nickel and dimed their way into the top 16 and nickel and dimed their way by moving up a little bit in each final swim that we had.

“We had huge swims from Will Farner, A.J. Farner and Sean Lu. Joe Wiater was injured last year. He came back and was consolation in the 50 and top eight in the breaststroke. It was a whole bunch of guys from all different classes that did it for us. I’m thrilled with everything they did.”

East Grand Rapids, which came in having won the Division 3 title in both 2021 and 2022, actually took slim leads over Cranbrook after eight events and again after 10. Junior Carter Kegle won the 500 freestyle for the second-straight year, beating out Plainwell freshman Sam Harper by five seconds. The win helped his team take a 10-point lead over Cranbrook. Kegle would finish second in the 200 freestyle and helped his Pioneers win the 400 freestyle relay to end the day. Junior Micah Spitzley and seniors Ted Turnage and Logan McCahill joined Kegle on the winning relay.

“We swam great. We broke three or four school records, and we were in the hunt,” East Grand Rapids head coach Milton Briggs said. “Give credit to Cranbrook. They beat us in that (medley) relay and they won the 200 free relay, which they weren’t supposed to. They had a great second day. They swam out of their minds. They’re a very, very good team.”

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. Grand Rapids Christian junior Ben Sytsma won the 50 freestyle and finished runner-up in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 in a time of 20.57 seconds, edging Manistee junior Alec Lampen by three tenths of a second. 

Lampen rebounded to win the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.30 seconds. 

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown rolled to victory in the 1-meter diving competition. The junior scored 522.25, outdistancing second-place Gryffin Porter of Haslett (428.75). DeWitt freshman Carson Reynolds was third with 419.65 points.

Fremont senior Matheus Garcia won the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 44.75 seconds. He beat out Sytsma (44.96) and McCahill (45.20).

The state saw a glimpse of the future, as a pair of freshmen walked away with championships. Otsego’s Liam Smith won the 100 butterfly, and Adrian’s London Rising was tops in the 200 freestyle. Smith entered the weekend with the top-seeded time but was second after Friday’s preliminaries to Holland senior James Baer.

“I always put pressure on myself,” said Smith, who won the final with a time of 49.74. “I came in as the 1-seed so I felt like I had to finish as the 1-seed. But at the same time, I have three more years to come in and do it all over again. It feels awesome.”

Rising, who was second to Kegle after the prelims, said he was stressing out heading into the prelims and all night Friday. 

“All night, I was just visualizing my race,” said Rising, who also finished third in the 100 butterfly. “When I came back, I was more nervous than excited but after I won, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Today, I just focused on myself and didn’t underestimate anybody. I thought it was going to be a good race, and it was.”

Holland Christian finished third with 161 points, and Adrian (135) and Grand Rapids Christian (110) rounded out the top five.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Cranbrook Kingswood’s Ethan Schwab launches into one of his races Saturday at Oakland University. (Middle) Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. (Below) Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)