The Seaholm boy’s swim team fell short of a second straight state championship on Saturday March 10, at the Holland Aquatics Center. They finished third, coming in 66 points behind first place Dexter and 45 points behind cross town rival Groves. “We are very pleased with our performance,” head coach Tom Wyllie said. “We were the defending champions so we would have of course liked to have repeated but we really ran up against a juggernaut in Dexter.”
Seaholm finished with 254 points, Dexter finished with 320 and Groves had 298.5.
“It was definitely a disappointment, we had 25 guys go to the meet, which was record, and we definitely could’ve won the meet,” freshman Jack Russell said.
Despite the Maples’ 21 meet win streak and victories against Groves earlier in the season, their overall youth and inexperience put them at too much of a disadvantage.
“What was missing was experience,” Wyllie said. “We were such a young team. For nine of the swimmers and one diver, this was the first time they had ever competed in a high school state championship meet. It was just that lack of experience, in terms of comparing to the other teams.”
Seaholm had 2012’s largest group of swimmers who qualified for states, with 23 swimmers and 2 divers.
“We had one of the largest teams that has ever actually competed at a state meet, not just for Seaholm but in general,” Wyllie said.
Among those 23 swimmers was junior captain Matt Wolkhammer, who led the team with a victory in his event.
“Probably the best performance at the meet was the last individual event, which was the 100 yard breast stroke, and our junior captain Matt Wolkhammer ended up winning that event and he set the varsity record (58.19 seconds) in that as well,” Wyllie said.
“I started out a little slow with a kind of slow first 50; I was hanging with the crowd,” Wolkhammer said. “My third turn, I had a pretty good pull out. Apparently since I watched it I got ahead of the guy who was leading. When I touched, I looked up at the scoreboard and it was kind of a weird feeling. I didn’t have a chance to be excited but it was just a happy feeling.”
Other key performances came from the Maples’ underclassmen. They had freshmen scorers in the 200 free-style, 200 IM, and 100 breast-stroke and the top freshman in every free-style event.
“Every event in which we had a freshman competing, he was the fastest freshman, and in certain events where we had a freshman, they were the only freshman to actually qualify for the event,” Wyllie said. “So, very strong showing for our freshmen, and actually the same is true for our sophomores. Our underclassmen actually had very good meets when you start comparing them class versus class.”
Even the upperclassmen know the vital role that the younger swimmers play.
“They’re incredible, it’s great how they are youth of our team they are literally the building blocks of our program and how well we’re going to do next year and the years after that,” Wolkhammer said.
“It’s a lot more intimidating than meets you go to where you face kids who are usually only a year older than you, but it brings a lot more intensity and it makes you swim faster,” Russell said. Russell was the only freshman to compete in the 100 breast and he finished fifth in the state.
The swimmers are optimistic about their chances next year. They’re looking to take the maturity and experiences gained this year and use it to win another championship at the 2013 state meet.
“Good finish, it definitely shows how well we are going to do in future years,” Wolkhammer said. “It’s exciting to see; we’re going to work harder next year and hopefully it comes out to a win.”