Spring Lake Takes Lead in Pool, Community

February 12, 2016

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The Spring Lake boys swimming and diving team has taken a turn toward the elite over the last two seasons, rising from average to one of the best on the west side of Michigan and in its division statewide.

And Lakers over the last two seasons have matched their athletic prowess with a notable outside-the-pool contribution as well, spearheaded by one of its captains.

Spring Lake is the Applebee’s Team of the Month for January after nearly completing one of the most impressive regular seasons in Lower Peninsula Division 3 this winter, and also for an athlete-driven effort that has raised nearly $8,000 over two years to provide services to local cancer patients.

The Lakers finished 11-3-1 in dual meets and rank No. 9 in LP Division 3 after starting this season outside the top 10, with wins over No. 4 Holland Christian, No. 5 Grand Rapids Christian and No. 6 Hamilton twice. Spring Lake also beat LP Division 1 honorable mention Grand Haven for only the third time in program history and first time in at least four seasons – and the team’s losses were to LPD1 No. 6 Zeeland and LPD1 honorable mentions Byron Center and Grandville.

“Three years ago, we had a losing dual meet record. We were losing to teams, a lot of Division 3 teams, and those teams we’ve beaten (the last two seasons),” said Spring Lake coach Jason Lintjer, a three-time MHSAA champion for Grand Haven at 2008 who went on to swim at Michigan State University. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction. We’re getting better year by year.”

The Lakers have also won three invitationals this season: their own, at Ludington and at Bridgman, another honorable mention in LP Division 1. The team’s relays are especially strong – the 200 freestyle relay of Cam Peel, Jacob Weesies, Grant Stille and Evan Wujcik ranks sixth in LPD3 with a top time of 1:31.30, and the 200 medley relay of Peel, Marshall Bailey, Drew Fogel and Weesies is tied for sixth with a top time of 1:43.04. The 400 freestyle relay of Charlie Slajus, Peel, Keon Rick and Fogel is eighth in LPD3 at 3:27.13. All three have qualified for the MHSAA LPD3 Finals beginning March 11 at Eastern Michigan University.

But more than an interesting sidenote is how many athletes could step into those relays and contribute. Peel has the fastest 200 free split, but team’s seventh-fastest swimmer in that relay has been only 1.71 seconds slower. The difference in speed between Slajus’ team-leading split in the 400 free and seventh fastest is only 1.58 seconds.

“The reason we’ve won so much is we’re so deep. Our depth is better than just about every team in every division," Lintjer said. "We don’t have state championship type of swimmers, but we might make a run at a relay because we have four swimmers who can contribute.”

All of this points to Spring Lake as a team on the rise statewide. But adding to these accomplishments has been the work to raise money to assist those fighting cancer, initiated by Rick, a senior.

He watched cancer’s effects first-hand as it took the health of his grandmother, who died in 2015. According to a Grand Haven Tribune report, Rick followed the lead of his brother, who had previously raised a donation to Bluebird Cancer Retreats, which provides programming including counseling for those living with cancer, survivors, and other loved ones and caregivers.

With just a few weeks of work in 2015, Rick raised more than $3,000 for those wishing to take part in Bluebird’s retreats. This year, he raised more than $4,200 with the help of his teammates, coaches and Manistee’s team during their Jan. 21 meet, a “Swim for Hope.”

Rick received donations door-to-door, from businesses and families, Lintjer said, and from Manistee’s program and community as well. Donors could sponsor specific events of the meet or lanes of Spring Lake's pool. Many made donations in the names of loved ones, and those names scrolled on the scoreboard throughout the meet.

In addition to physically organizing most of the meet festivities, Rick directed the effort, instructing teammates who took part as well.

“People are probably surprised he raised $4,000, but I wasn’t very surprised,” Lintjer said. “He’s one our team captains, and pretty much anything he does, he does a great job.”

Spring Lake’s swimming and diving team has 23 athletes this season and has set two pool records, one at home and one at Bridgman. The Lakers will look to repeat as Coastal Conference champions when they host the league meet Feb. 26-27.

Past Teams of the Month, 2015-16:
December: Saginaw Heritage girls basketball – Report
November: Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard volleyball – Report
October: Benton Harbor football – Report

September: Mason and Okemos boys soccer – Report

PHOTOS: (Top) Spring Lake's Eric Schock swims the butterfly during a meet this season. (Middle) Spring Lake athletes wave to the crowd with trophy in hand. (Photos courtesy of the Schock and Rick families). 

Performance of the Week: East Grand Rapids' Charley Bayer

March 17, 2022

Charley BayerCharley Bayer ♦ East Grand Rapids
Diving ♦ Senior

Bayer capped his high school diving career at Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals with an extraordinary performance that may not be surpassed for some time. Bayer posted a score of 590.85, repeating as LPD3 champion and also breaking the all-Finals record of 584.75 set in 1981 by Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Bruce Kimball, who went on to earn All-America honors at University of Michigan and a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Bayer had scored 490.75 to win the diving competition by just less than 18 points at the 2021 LPD3 Finals, and he had dived a personal-best 555 during the Division 3 Invitational this regular season. He won this past weekend by 134.80 points, as East Grand Rapids also repeated as team champion. Bayer will continue his academic and diving careers at South Carolina, drawn also by his interest in the university’s business school.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2021-22 Honorees

March 9: Ja'Marcus Smith, Detroit Mumford wrestling - Report
March 2:
David Schaberg, Holt bowling - Report
Feb. 24:
Adelaide McRoberts, Kingsford swimming - Report
Feb. 17:
Christopher Kavanaugh, Petoskey hockey - Report
Feb. 10:
Ira Jenkins, Whitehall wrestling - Report

Feb. 3: Emma Stewart, Salem gymnastics - Report
Jan. 28:
Tyler Ray, Pinckney swimming - Report
Jan. 21:
Elle Craven, Traverse City Central skiing - Report
Jan. 14:
Nevaeh Williams, Mount Clemens basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Lucas Dunn, Chelsea football - Report
Nov. 25:
Riley Nugent, Plainwell swimming - Report
Nov. 18:
Harper Murray, Ann Arbor Skyline volleyball - Report
Nov. 11:
Abby VanderKooi, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian cross country - Report
Nov. 4:
Arianne Olson, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Oct. 28:
Jack Guggemos, Okemos soccer - Report
Oct. 21:
Sachiv Kumar, Northville tennis - Report
Oct. 14:
Kate Brody, Grand Blanc golf - Report
Oct. 7:
Lilly Nelson, Negaunee tennis - Report
Sept. 30:
Stella Chapman, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Sept. 23:
Riley Hough, Hartland cross country - Report
Sept. 16:
Josie Bloom, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Report

PHOTO (Top) East Grand Rapids' Charley Bayer dives during last weekend's LPD3 Finals at Calvin College. (Action photo by Steve Willison; head shot by Shannon Pontius.)