By Dustin Evans
The men’s swim and dive team represented Walled Lake at the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 1 State Meet with more competitors than in any recent season, qualifying for three individual events and two additional relays. They swam well at the preliminary meet on Friday March 11, breaking three school records, and managed to get a few events back for the final meet on Saturday March 12 at the Holland Aquatic Center.
Among these swimmers were freshmen Ian Allen and Andrew Gourav, sophomore Cameron Whitfield, juniors Brett Strongman and captain Josh Pascua, and seniors Alex Zikherman and captains Doug Moore and Dustin Evans.
Out of the twelve events that take place in a high school swim meet, the Vikings had at least one swim in four of those events at the fastest division of swim in the state. At prelims on March 11, their 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the meet, swam a time of 1:38.59 at prelims, only :00.14 off of the school record.
Allen split a :25.49 in the lead backstroke leg of the relay, followed by Moore with a split of :28.03 in the breaststroke leg of the relay. Then Pascua split a time of :22.88 in the butterfly leg of the relay, and Whitfield anchored the relay splitting a time of :22.19. This placed the team 12th overall in the state at prelims and earned them a second swim at finals.
“We’ve been working on this relay all year and coming so close to that record is pretty cool, though I wish we could’ve gotten it,” said Moore.
Pascua followed this relay with a school-record-breaking swim in the 200-yard individual medley, the third event of the meet. In this event, the swimmer must swim 50 yards (two lengths) of each of the four strokes in the order of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. He took the swim out at :24.82 for the butterfly, then :30.52 for the backstroke, :32.40 for the breaststroke and finished the swim at :27.46 for the freestyle. This won him the school record in the event with a time of 1:55.14, breaking the previous record of 1:57.02 which he set at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) Lakes Conference meet earlier this season. This also earned him ninth place overall in the prelims, one place away from all-state.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates and coaches pushing me everyday in practice,” said Pascua.
Later in the meet, Allen and Pascua competed in the 100-yard butterfly, the sixth event of the meet. Allen was seeded 30th overall in the meet with a freshman record time for Central of :53.91. He swam that personal best time at the KLAA Lakes Conference meet earlier this season, but didn’t perform quite as well at the state meet, going a final time of :54.07 though holding his place. Pascua came into the meet seeded sixth overall with a time of :51.98, a school record set at this year’s Oakland County Championships Meet. He improved on this time while holding his place, going a time of :50.95, re-breaking his previous school record and earning himself the honor of becoming the school’s first All-State swimmer since Stephen Lee, who graduated two years ago.
The last event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay, was another good one for the team. The relay of Whitfield, Strongman, Allen, and Pascua came into the meet with a seed time of 3:19.22, just :01.04 off of the school record. Whitfield led off the relay with a time of :50.30, followed by Strongman with a time of :49.91, then Allen with a time of :49.60, and anchored by Pascua with a time of :47.71. These times added up to a school record time of 3:17.52, breaking a three-year-old record set in 2013 in the same pool, though it wasn’t quite fast enough to earn them another swim the next day at finals.
“Being a part of that relay and breaking the school record was pretty awesome and we’ll probably be able to break it again next year because no one on it’s graduating this year,” said Strongman.
The next day, at the final state meet, the 200-yard medley relay went a time of 1:39.25, earning them a 14th place finish. Pascua followed this with a time of 1:56.56 in the 200-yard individual medley, earning him a 13th place finish. Later, he swam a time of :51.26 in the 100-yard butterfly, earning him an 8th place finish. These swims earned the team 21 points and 21st place. The team hopes to build on this success next season, breaking more records and placing in both individual and relay events next year.