GRAND RAPIDS — Competing against the defending MHSAA Division 3 state champions East Grand Rapids was a challenge the Spring Lake boys swimming and diving team prepared long and hard for, but the Lakers fell short, 110-73 Thursday at East Grand Rapids.

“Despite the difficulties of the training week, there were still a number of improvements from many of the underclassmen tonight,” said Lakers coach Nick Zacek.

“I won’t lie … it’s an intimidating atmosphere to walk into a facility of the winningest Division 3 team in Michigan history, to see all of the state championship banners above the pool for both girls and boys varsity teams.

“Going toe-to-toe with the reigning state champions is a privilege, and though we were certainly off our best tonight, it’s a great experience to race against the big dogs.”

Lakers freshman Adetunji Adams improved his 50-yard freestyle time by 88 seconds, from 29.75 to 28.87 and his 100-yard freestyle time from 1:12:36 to 1:11.48.

Another freshman, Garrison Babcock bettered his time in the 100-yard breaststroke by 2:46 from 1:29.61 to 1:27.15. Meanwhile, sophomore Kyle Bajt went from 35 seconds in the 50-yard free to 27.18, and had a season best split of 26.89. Matthew Daudelin, a freshman, dropped his 100-yard butterfly time by 5.44, from 1:30.60 to 1:25.16.

Kyle Eacker, a sophomore, improved his 50 free time by .50 from 27.00 to 26.50, and dropped his 100 fly time from 1:25.14 to 1:21.96. Freshman Fisher Halsey went from 2:31.17 to 2:26.61 in the 200 free, and from 1:04.27 to to 1:02.55 in the 100 free.

Jaxson Keefe-Dutton, a freshman, improved his time in the 100-yard backstroke from 1:22.18 to 1:20.41. Nathan Navarre, a sophomore, cut his time in the 100 free from 1:15.39 to 1:08.24.

Lakers senior Quentin O’Donnell dropped his time in the 50 free from 34.07 to 33.33, and from 1:16.49 to 1:14.06 in the 100 free. Max Porter, a freshman, dropped his time in the 100 breaststroke from 1:27.80 to 1:26.20. Another freshman, Lucas Walsh, cut his time in the 50 free from 28.84 to 28.51, and his 100 free time from 1:10.70 to 1:07.18.

“This stretch of time until the conference and state championships is the perfect time to physically and mentally push through races in the back of the meet,” Zacek said.

“The boys will all do spectacularly in the early parts of their races when they’re fully rested. However, we want to train to also race well with strong form in the second half.

“Putting the back half work in now will do us very well during the championship season next month and early March.”

Spring Lake will next swim at the Division 3 Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 15 hosted by the Holland Christian Maroons.