Six teams provided plenty of excitement and splashes at the Harper Creek Swimming Invitational on Saturday.
Portage Northern won the event with a team score of 338 points. They had four girls place first in different events, while four placed second and another five finished third.
Harper Creek was right behind Portage Northern with 301 points. Mattawan scored 294 points, Loy Norrix had 132 points, Marshall finished with 130 points and Albion rounded out the scoring with 11 points.
“This was a bigger meet, it had unlimited entries which allows the coaches to use all the relay teams and it gives opportunities to try some of the girls out in different events,” said Harper Creek head coach Corrin Popps. “This is a longer meet than the girls are used to so it gives them a chance to push through fatigue and really see what they have after they are exhausted. It was great to go up against Portage Northern because they are a very strong team, but unfortunately we won’t face them in league head to head meets.”
Harper Creek had a solid day in both swimming and diving. The Beavers started off with a very strong performance from junior Nicole Gilbert in diving. She had an impressive day in winning the event with a score of 389.6 points to edge Portage Northern freshman Brianna Jones by four points.
“This meet gives the girls 11 dives instead of just six in league meets. It gives them opportunities to try new or different things with five more jumps,” Popps said. “Nicole has been doing some outstanding work and came up with a big performance today.”
Harper Crek had more great performances in the swimming events, with two girls finish first in their respective events. Sophomore Kara Popps won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:04.44; she was also part of the 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished with a top time of 1:48:86.
Harper Creek junior Madison Vaive showed her stuff in the freestyle events, taking second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.47. Vaive was the final leg in the 200-yard medley relay and had a blistering time for her 50 yards at 26.06 in helping Harper Creek take second in that event with an overall time of 2:01.34. Vaive was also part of the Beavers’ 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished first.
Harper Creek freshman Sophie Marshall had an impressive finish in the 200-yard freestyle in taking third at a time of 2:13.44.
Marshall had a good day overall with 130 team points and showed they will compete with a fairly young team. Sophomore Jessica Bush finished third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.23. Bush finished seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:22.58. She also took part in two of Marshall’s relay teams, the 200-yard medley relay, finishing ninth at 2:19.23; and the 200-yard freestyle relay, also taking ninth with a time of 2:07.53.
Marshall freshman Anna Sitar had an eventful day participating in four events with two top-ten finishes. She took sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:21.79 and seventh in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:46. 52.
Albion scored 11 team points, but the smaller team did not allow them to fill as many lanes in the meet. Wildcats senior Kate Frandsen stayed strong for her team by finishing in the top ten in both of her individual races, the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. She timed in at 28.84 in the 50-yard freestyle and had a time of 1:03.61 in the 100-yard freestyle.
Albion sophomore Miriam Wilch finished tenth in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:54.60.
“We have league meets starting in about two weeks so having this opportunity to use all of our girls and try different things in beneficial,” Popps said. “We have great teams to face in league meets so events like these help us sharpen up. We are having fun and looking forward to starting league meets.”