Gremlins swim teams sweep Senior Night
HOUGHTON — For coach Erik Johnson and the Houghton Gremlins swim teams, Senior Night always carries a special meaning. As each class of swimmers reaches their final season in Orange and Black, Johnson believes his student athletes grow, both in their ability in the pool, but also in their abilities outside of the water.
On Thursday, the Gremlins hosted Kingsford and Gladstone for a tri-meet for their final home swim of the season, and both teams had strong showings, as they both earned wins.
“It was our Senior Night, so that is always a special meet, and the kids didn’t disappoint,” said Johnson. “We got a chance to give a thank you to those who gave so much to the program and helped to move it forward over the last four years.”
Johnson said that he hopes each of his seniors know that they will be missed.
“I hope they know how much we are going to miss them next year,” he said. “They did an amazing job making our program better, and fostering their love for the sport for the next group of kids.”
The girls won their side with a score of 112, which was 10 better than Kingsford and 22 better than Gladstone. The boys scored 126, beating Kingsford, who finished with 93 points, and Gladstone, who scored 73.
One of the team’s leaders, senior Claire Filpus, qualified for the U.P. Finals with a strong showing in the 50-yard freestyle. She also led the 200-yard freestyle relay.
On the boys’ side Carson Jackson also hit a qualifying time, much to the delight of Johnson.
Johnson admitted that he was concerned prior to the meet about how strong the Flivvers are, and he was proud of his teams for pushing their way to victories.
“I wasn’t sure we had the horsepower to keep up with the Flivvers, but we powered through in the end,” he said. “Gladstone was really pushing hard too, and a tri-meet doesn’t usually play to our strength, which is getting three kids to score in events. But, they all really stepped up.”
Naomi Frahm was the only individual winner for the girls in the meet. She on the diving competition.
On the boys’ side, Ty Crisman continued his strong run on the diving board with another win. Beau Haataja won the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke as well. Isaak DeYcaza won the 100-yard freestyle.
“Clearly, it was a huge team effort, and I am very proud of the work these kids have put in,” said Johnson. “They are really learning how to compete. (There are) still a few more things to clean up prior to (U.P.) Finals, but we will get there. I’m confident in that fact.”
Johnson was proud of the entirety of his teams, as they needed depth scoring to win both sides.
“(Thursday) really was a team effort and it isn’t easy to pick out one kid or swim that was the deciding factor, so hats off to all the kids, especially our seniors and their parents for all the hard work they put in throughout their athletes’ career,” Johnson said. “I hope they know they are as much a part of our swim family as their kids are, and I really appreciate all they do for the program.”
The Gremlins will close out their regular season this week with a pair of meets on the road. The first will be on Tuesday against Marquette. On Thursday, they will take on Ishpeming.