UNIVERSITY CENTER — Dow High swam to 10 first-place finishes on Saturday to give the Chargers their 13th consecutive Saginaw Valley League championship at Saginaw Valley State University.
“It is not that I really count the championships,” Chargers’ coach Gary Strickler said. “I count them one at a time. We just like to see the guys this year do better than the previous year’s team.”
The Chargers won the nine-team meet with 575 points, beating out second-place Saginaw Heritage, who had 381 points.
Bay City Western finished third with 251 points, followed by Bay City Central with 249, Flint Powers with 199, Davison with 162, Midland High with 126, Lapeer with 76, and Carman-Ainsworth with 68.
Dow junior Nehemiah Mork was named the SVL Most Valuable Swimmer for the second consecutive year.
Mork was able to break two individual SVL meet records in the 50 freestyle (20.98) and 100 butterfly (50.47), and he helped the Chargers break two relay meet records in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
“He was clearly ahead of everyone (in terms of being the top athlete at the meet),” Strickler said of Mork. “The ranking is done by a national point system, and he was way far ahead of everyone else (at this meet). He was clearly the most valuable swimmer.
“ … I think the top highlight of the meet was our medley relay. They just swam very well and beat a very good Heritage relay,” Strickler added. “That really set the tone for the meet.”
In addition to Mork’s victories in the 50 free and 100 fly, other winners for Dow were the 200 medley relay of Nick Pixton, Noah Behm, Mork, and Zach Hoffman at 1:35.68, Kevin White in the 200 freestyle at 1:49.06, Hunter Grannum in diving at 370.85 points, Hoffman in the 100 freestyle at 47.24, White in the 500 freestyle at 4:54.73, the 200 freestyle relay of Jacob Krzciok, Mork, Ben Brandstadt, and Hoffman at 1:27.42, Pixton in the 100 backstroke at 54.25, and the 400 freestyle relay of Krzciok, Pixton, White, and Beau Matthews at 3:19.54.
Finishing second for the Chargers were Hoffman in the 200 individual medley at 1:57.72 and Pixton in the 100 freestyle at 49.54.
Finishing third for Dow were Matthews in the 200 freestyle at 1:50.84, Krzciok in the 50 freestyle at 22.82, and Matthews in the 500 freestyle at 5:13.08.
Finishing fourth for the Chargers were Tyler Befus in the 200 IM at 2:01.64, Jake Davidson in diving at 299.70 points, Brandstadt in the 100 butterfly at 55.61, and Behm in the 100 breaststroke at 1:01.37.
Finishing fifth for Dow were Behm in the 200 IM at 2:04.84, Jacob Pasek in diving at 284.05 points, Krzciok in the 100 freestyle at 50.17, and Befus in the 100 backstroke at 55.18.
“It has just been a really good season for this group,” Strickler said. “They are very dedicated and very focused. This has been a team that has just kept getting faster and faster as the season progressed.
“We had good times at the Tri-Cities (championship) and good times at the MISCA (meet), and at all of the meets we’ve swum at, we keep getting faster,” he added. “And now we are in very good shape going into the state finals.”
Dow has a total of 10 swimmers attending the Division 2 state finals on March 13-14 in Holland.
Being a top-three finisher, Grannum moves onto diving regionals on Thursday at Fenton to compete for a spot at the state finals.