Gremlins swim teams earn split last week

HOUGHTON — With a strong showing Saturday, the Houghton Gremlins swim teams earned a split for the week. Both the boys and girls’ teams lost to Marquette on Thursday, but bounced back with wins against Sault Ste. Marie.

Gremlins coach Erik Johnson knew Saturday’s matchup with the Blue Devils would be tough.

“The Soo made the long trip over to swim against us today but they came out firing,” he said.

On the girls’ side, the Gremlins won 102-79. They fought hard for multiple high finishes, and that allowed them to earn the team win.

Rose Dennis won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Johnson was proud of her efforts, especially since she missed the meet with Marquette.

“Rose swam really well after missing Thursday’s meet due to illness,” he said.

Stella Soumis won the 100-yard butterfly. Claire Filpus earned the win in the 100-yard backstroke.

In the 500-yard freestyle, the Gremlins took the Top 3 spots, thanks to a great race from Kaci Dewar, who took first, and strong efforts from Cora Mueller and Kayleigh Carlson.

Meg Ruohonen won the diving competition.

“The girls team had a tall order and even with the Soo missing a few key girls,” Johnson said. “I was impressed with how they stepped up. We had a lot of kids stepping into roles and scoring points in events.

“All in all, it was a great team effort that was driven again by a team that won’t quit and supports each other through every single race.”

On the boys’ side, the Gremlins won 109-73.

Collin Raasio won the 200-yard freestyle. Brett Gaff won the 500-yard freestyle. Two of his teammates finished second and third, giving the Gremlins the sweep at the top.

Both Beau Haataja and Johannes Myhre won multiple events. Haataja won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke. Myhre won the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.

“The guys came together again and really pushed each other,” said Johnson. “Taking first, second, and third in the 500 free and 200 free was something that really impressed me.

“We have had a lot of competition within the team and Brett Gaff reclaimed the fastest 500 for the year, and already the other guys are talking about taking the title from him.”

Johnson is encouraging the team competition because he believes that environment brings out better swims from his competitors.

“This is the kind of competition within the team that has really fostered improvements throughout the season,” he said. “It’s always great to get a group of guys who want to push each other and this group has really done that.”

While he did not win, Johnson pointed out that Anderson Limkemann had a strong showing in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“A major highlight was Anderson Limkemann making the 100 breaststroke cut,” Johnson said. “He has been working extremely hard, and watching his teammates celebrate that with him was really a great moment for me.”

Gremlins fall to Marquette

Illness played a major role in the Gremlins’ losses on Thursday against Marquette. The Redmen swim teams are favorites to win the U.P. title this year, but Johnson was proud of the effort his group put out on the afternoon.

The boys lost 123-62 and the girls fell 141-42, but the boys did have a pair of individual winners in Josh Bennett, who won the 500-yard freestyle and Myhre, who won the 100-yard butterfly.

“We knew going into the meet that it would be a tough day with Marquette girls and boys both being the heavy favorites to win it all this year, but we had a few things we really wanted to focus on,” said Johnson.

Johnson was especially proud off all his swimmers who competed in the 500-yard freestyle. Mueller and Dewar both finished hard, taking third and fourth, respectively. On the boys’ side, Bennett and Gaff both closed their final 100 yards hard, taking first and second.

“I was very proud of all the kids,” said Johnson. “We were missing a few key components due to illness, and I know a few other kids weren’t feeling 100%, but they really stepped it up for each other.

“Both the girls and boys 500 races had the whole team on their feet, and had the place rocking. Cora and Kaci battled right to the wire finishing third and fourth and just ahead of a Marquette swimmer. Josh and Brett Gaff had really strong closing 100’s to bring home the first-second finish in the 500 for the boys.”

In the 100-yard backstroke, Haataja found another gear to push into a second-place finish.

“I think the 100 back might have been one of the best races I have seen this year,” Johnson said. “Beau was down going into the second 50, but, as usual, he surprised me with his closing speed to come in with a second place finish and a really strong time. That will be an exciting event to watch the rest of the season.”

Up next

The Gremlins will be celebrating their Senior Night on Thursday when they host Kingsford.


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