Prep swimming: 15th annual Splash-N-Dash draws teams U.P.-wide

MARQUETTE – Although team scores weren’t kept, competition at the 15th annual Splash-N-Dash Invitational high school swim meet gave athletes a chance to try new events and face rivals prior to the Upper Peninsula Finals.

Ten U.P. swimming and diving teams participated at the Marquette Senior High School pool.

“It was fun to have all of the stars in the U.P. going at it,” Marquette coach Nate McFarren said. “There were a lot of really good races.”

The MSHS boys had eight top-three finishes, led by Sam Williams, Nathan Rotundo and Tony Lackey. All were members of the runner-up 200-yard medley and freestyle relays.

In the 100 individual medley and 50 breaststroke, Williams and Rotundo went 1-2, Williams winning the IM and Rotundo the 50 breast.

“They’re strong, they’re focused, and they’re right where I want them to be at this time of year,” McFarren said.

The Marquette girls had six top-three finishes, including a first place in both the 200 medley and freestyle relays.

Individually, freshman Lyndsey Welch won in the 50 butterfly and was second in the 100 IM, in addition to being a member of both winning relays. Logan Vear was second in the fly and third in the IM, and she was also a member of the winning free relay.

McFarren said he held practices for the athletes over winter break and when school was canceled last week due to weather, and he had a significantly better turnout than in past years.

“We had some amazing swims and some great first places, but the whole team needs to take credit for the hard work they’re doing,” he said.

Top finishers for Ishpeming-Negaunee boys included Peter Leppanen with a fourth- place finish in the 50 free and Ricky Peterson fifth in the 50 backstroke. On the girls’ side, Katelyn Johnson took eighth place in the 50 breast.

For Westwood, top-10 finishers were Nathen Nelson in the boys’ IM and back, Skyler Dakota in the boys’ breast and Miranda Roose in the girls’ breast.

“They swam hard and a lot of them dropped time,” Westwood coach Kelli Pfiester said. “We didn’t have too many first or second places, but I’m more concerned with our overall improvement.”

Gladstone High School took first in six events between its boys and girls teams. Thomas Prica and Katie Stephenson won two events each for the Gladiators.

Also participating were Manistique, Houghton, Sault Ste. Marie, Kingsford, Rudyard and Hancock/Jeffers.

In girls diving, Westwood’s Mya Maanika was the winner, while Marquette’s Ashley Sylvester was third. For boys, I-N diver Cameron Adam came in second and Marquette’s Ricky Vermeulen fourth.

With more meets to come, teams are working toward the U.P. Finals in Marquette on Feb. 14-15.