It’s about time the 2015 boys swimming and diving season was underway, and with this season there are a plethora of area teams who look to compete, improve and win in the 2015-16 calendar year.
Fans of high school swimming and area swimmers will find out quickly what kind of talent we have in the area with the annual Cereal Bowl Relays at Battle Creek Central on Friday and the All-City Meet on Jan. 23.
Lakeview is one of those teams looking forward to more postseason success. This year the Spartans return to the pool with five All-State swimmers. For coach Kyle Lott’s Spartan squad, the Spartans two losses last season came against Forest Hill co-op and Midland Dow in a quad meet.
Lott’s team finished fifth at the state championship last season, and he is confident the 2015 Spartans can make more waves at the state tournament again as swimmer numbers this year are high.
Playing in one of the best swimming and diving conferences in the state, Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC), a young Battle Creek Central team improved last season by finishing 4-8 in the SMAC. The Bearcats, unlike years prior, are losing a couple of experienced swimmers, yet are still looking to attack the waters with a multitude of new and young swimmers.
Harper Creek finished last year 1-7 overall and eighth in the Southwest Michigan Swim Conference. The Beavers are adding young talent that could propel Harper Creek to the next level in the Southwest and Central Michigan Swim League (SWCMSL).
Marshall, also a member of the SWCMSL, finished second in the SWCMSL after an overall record of 6-1 in dual meets. The Redhawks have six returning State Meet qualifiers, and this experience, according to coach Dave Karns, will improve the team even further.
Here is a closer look at the boys area swim teams:
BATTLE CREEK CENTRAL
Coach: Rob Brownell (10th year)
Last season: 4-8 in the SMAC
Top returners: Nick Insley, Thomas Krug, Devonte Hillman, Ben Unger, Zac Hultink, Lorenzo Face, Christian Taylor, Brian Martinez, Shaun Evans and Dan Goins
Season outlook: “We lost a couple of fast seniors, but we are rebuilding. We have a relativity new team, but it’s tough in our league. In our non-conference meets, we are going to be very competitive.”
Head Coach: Kyle Lott (14th year)
Last season: 9-2-1 and second in the SMAC (Portage Central finished first)
Top Returners: Senior All-State swimmers Sam Myers, Scott Carstens, Tabor Smyth, Braden Shanks and sophomore All-State swimmer Levi Youmans.
Season outlook: “Real diverse team this year, and I’m real excited. We have a nice spread of numbers this year. We are looking at close to 35 people on the team. I’m already impressed by the skills from our kids. I’m excited about the season, and we are going to see a lot of good things from each level.”
Head Coach: Devin Hurst (fourth year)
Last season: 1-7 overall and eighth in the SWCMSL.
Top returners: Seniors Caleb Hansen and Steven Peterson return looking to build from past seasons while a solid core of juniors – Jaden Costa, Peyton Lepper, and Jackson Maurer – are all ready to lead a young, talented team. Sophomore Drew VanWagner plans to pick up where he left off as a sprinter and sophomore Tommy Shaw is taking on a new role for the team on the diving board. Sophomores Jonah Burden, Devon Funk, Nicholas Katz, Ashton Tanner and Nate Wood also return hoping to increase their roles on the team.
Season outlook: “We are very excited to add a lot of young talent to the team this year. Freshmen Jeffery McDaniels, Alex Piper, Charley Vaughn, Adam Wilson and Ethan Wilson join the team in excellent shape and with a lot of experience swimming with Harper Creek’s Club and USA teams. Freshmen Logan Denney and Caden Smead also look to contribute early for the team. We are excited to see some brand new swimmers in the pool with senior Bryce Withers leading sophomore Noah Vaden and freshmen Preston Barker, Josh Dubois and Jake Burnham in the pool, working hard and improving every day. Senior Hervin Crespo is a first-year diver showing more and more confidence every day on the board.”
Coach: Dave Karns (16th year)
Last season: 6-1 in dual meets
Top Returners: Chandler Cruz-Bk/Fr, Cam Foster-Bk/Fr, Jordan Gillett-Fr, Eron Hill-Fr/Fly, Alec Kraushaar-Brst, Seb Loonen-Fly/Fr, Weston Quigley-Fr, O’Shea Swinton-Diving, Bryar Thelen-Diving/Brst, Taj Wallace-Fr., Brian Huyge-IM, Bk
Top Newcomers: Micheal Vezmar-Fr/Fly, Lincoln Bultemeier-IM, Brst, Fly, Juul Loonen-Fr, Landon Morgan-IM, Brst, Carl Quist-IM, Fly
Season outlook: “We have a nice blend of experience and new athletes. We will be working hard to develop our depth and hopefully be competing for a league title. I am excited about where we are starting, but even more excited about how we could possibly finish the season. I believe we can do nothing but improve from where we are. We have six returning State Meet qualifiers and they will be able to help show our younger athletes what it takes.”
Winter Sports Previews
Today: Boys Swimming Preview
Dec. 8: 24-page Boys and Girls Basketball Special Section
Dec. 10: Wrestling Preview