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FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

Boys swim and dive looks foward to a season highlighted by many returning swimmers


Coming off of an 11th-place finish at the Division II state meet last year, head swim coach Dennis Neat is looking forward to his team getting back in the pool this season.

“[I’m excited] to see how far this team will be willing to be pushed to meet their goals,” Neat said.  “They love to race, and it shows in practice. I can’t wait to see what that means on a meet day,  especially at the conference and state meets.”

Things are already looking much better for the Rangers compared to last season. Unfortunately, the team had no divers, but this year, they have one: freshman Ben Grant.

There will be some obvious growing pains bridging the gap between middle school and high school sports, but Neat has accepted this and is centered on growth.

“We’ll take one meet at a time and focus on individual goals more than an overall record,” Neat said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Rangers have returned almost 80% of their roster from the 2022-23 season while adding five new swimmers. Only four swimmers did not return to the team (3 graduated).

While the team is much smaller compared to their conference rivals like Byron Center, East Grand Rapids, Northview, and Forest Hills Northern/Eastern, the graduation of only three seniors gives FHC an advantage.

The Rangers are returning more swimmers than their rival teams, and it is crucial to this year’s success.

One key returning athlete is sophomore standout Lucas Witham. Witham had a phenomenal freshman season and is looking to build off his performances from last year.

He had two individual state cuts and was also part of the two record-breaking relay teams last season: the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Because of his remarkable freshman season, Witham has high expectations for this year.

“My goals for this season are to place at states and possibly break a school record,” he said. “I have been preparing for this season by starting club swim for RAYS in August to get in shape before I went into high school season.”

Senior captain Reed Dixon is also a key returning athlete for the Rangers. He offers experience and speed to the team in both backstroke and IM events. Dixon is coming off of a solid junior season. Like Witham, he had two individual state cuts.

Since Dixon is a senior this year, he has high expectations for himself and has been preparing in the offseason to make his last year his best yet.

“I expect myself to swim very fast this season,” he said. “Since I am a senior, my standards for my races have increased much more compared to last year. I have been training hard on my club team since September and trying to eat clean foods to fuel my body. “

With the first meet of the season being this Saturday, Dec. 2, the boys have been practicing every day (except Sunday) since Nov. 20 in preparation.

The practices have not been easy or slow, even though it’s still the beginning of the season. Neat thinks that’s the key to performing well.

“With a smaller team, everyone must be willing to achieve more, and that comes from how you’re training,” Neat said. “Train to swim slow. Then you’ll swim slow. Train fast, and you’ll swim fast.” 

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About the Contributor
Mady Scarlato
Mady Scarlato, Staff/Social Media Manager
Mady is a sophomore entering her first year on the FHC Sports Reports staff. She's a part of the swim and water polo teams. When she's not writing, some of her favorite things to do are watching movies, spending time with friends, and listening to music. A fun fact about her is when she was 11 she had spine surgery. Mady is very passionate about all sports and loves to learn the stats behind them. She could tell you almost anything you need to know about any sport.   Favorite Artists: Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Cian Ducrot Favorite Ice Cream: Birthday Cake Favorite Animals: Narwhals or Llamas Favorite Food: Pasta

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