Rangers have successful swim and dive season despite Covid setbacks


Starting their season off two months behind schedule, the Rangers had some work to do to make it back to the state meet, especially after it was canceled last season. Although the team only consisted of 14 members (two divers and twelve swimmers), they had lots of depth and were able to bring nine of their 14 athletes to the state meet, ending with a tenth place finish in the state.

“It feels so amazing that we were able to have our state meet this year,” junior Benji Zorn said. “Last year we worked so hard for everything just to be lost before we could show everyone what we had done. It was honestly a sigh of relief.”

The Rangers started off their season strong with a 104-81 win at the Battle of the Hills against FHNE. Unfortunately for the Rangers, due to Covid circumstances, they were down five swimmers at their next meet against Jenison, producing a loss of 99-70. Despite the loss, junior Cole Hysong did beat the previous FHC diving record by providing his new score of 287 points, boosting the team’s morale for its next game.

“I think the season went great,” Cole said. “I won all my meets but two, and got all the school records for diving.”

In their next meet, still down a few swimmers, the team inevitably lost to Grand Rapids Christian. However, they got the Eagles back by beating them at the conference meet when the Rangers had all of their swimmers back in the pool.

“My favorite dual meet was our home meet against Byron Center because it was our senior night,” junior Roman Kalaczinski said,” and we were able to get some spectators to support Avery for that. We won too, which also helps.”

Making a comeback on senior night, the team beat Byron Center 100-83 to get their season back on track. Senior captain Avery LeTourneau was the team’s only senior, and put his name in the record books with his eventful season.

“I’m going to miss meets with the team the most, especially the close ones,” Avery said. “Being able to come together at the end of a meet and say that we gave it our all will be something that I hope the guys will continue to express after I leave.”

Finishing their regular season, the boys lost 102-77 to the Pioneers, but quickly turned around and came within 10 points of them at conference, placing second.

“Our biggest achievement as a team has to be getting second at conference and almost beating East Grand Rapids,” Avery said. “We lost the conference meet by a mere ten points and they are over double our team size. It’s something I can’t ever say I have seen happen.”

After the conference meet, the boys tapered and prepared for their appearance at the division two state meet. At the state meet, the Rangers tied for tenth and the team acquired many accomplishments as well. Many swimmers got best times, the 400 freestyle relay broke the school record, and Avery won the 100 fly. Overall, despite the Covid setbacks, this season was a great success for the Rangers, as they placed well in states and broke numerous records.

“We overcame a lot of little things to accomplish some amazing team goals. First we had a delayed start to the season by 6 weeks,” head coach Dennis Neat said. “Then the team size was smaller than we expected. Then on top of that, we had to endure contact tracing by the school. With only a team of 14, we went into one meet missing 5 team members. We didn’t win, but those that were able to swim and dive, gave it their best.”