On February 28 and 29, the West Ottawa boys swim team scored 496 points to beat Rockford, Hudsonville, Grand Haven, Grandville, and East Kentwood. The boys took first place, and, in doing so, secured the title of OK Red Conference swim champs.
The all-conference swimmers were Kyle Maas, Julian Barrios, Spencer Carl, Sam Smith, Matt DeNave, Derek Maas, Ryan Langdon, and Joe Sigler. “The Conference meet went great. We set an OK Red Conference record in three events and now hold 9 of the 12 OK Red Conference meet records. Almost all of our athletes posted personal best times,” Coach Steve Bowyer said.
But they can’t celebrate yet. The MHSAA State Finals are March 11 and 12 at the Holland Aquatic Center. Proper preparation will be crucial in order for the boys to do well at this significant meet. “After 14 weeks of intense training, the team has started a taper, or rest phase, to get ready for both the Conference and the State meet. We also do visualization during our taper,” Bowyer said.
Sr. Kyle Maas set the conference record in the 100 back at 51.00 seconds, and he also swam the 100 fly in 50.52 seconds. Maas says that at States, he’d like to swim a 1:48.00 IM (Individual Medley) and a 48.39 100 back. “We will be tapering down our yardage to rest up and in order to swim fast at States,” Maas said.
Soph. Julian Raad-Barrios also swam extremely well at Conferences. “I swim the 100 breaststroke and the 200 free. However, at Conference, I swam the 200 IM. I got personal best times in both events, 1:57.85 in the 200 IM, getting second place overall. I also went a 59.00 in the 100 breaststroke, getting first place overall. I’m not sure what my second event is going to be at the State meet. However, I do know that I am going to be swimming the 100 breaststroke, and I am going for the varsity record time of 58.06. In order to prepare for state, I’m going to rest a lot, drink plenty of water, and avoid using my excess energy so that I have that energy for my races,” Barrios said.
The boys have a good chance of placing very high at the State Finals. “At the State meet, we will be in a six-team battle for a top four spot. Four teams get trophies at the State meet, and we are hoping to be a trophy team.” The competition for these top spots is between West Ottawa, Brother Rice, Ann Arbor Skyline, Saline, and Zeeland.
Good luck to the West Ottawa boys this weekend, be sure to come out to support your fellow Panthers!