Plymouth earns NLC reprisal vs NorthWood

PLYMOUTH — After last year’s defeat at the hands of Northern Lakes Conference foe NorthWood, the Pilgrims were ready for a little reprisal at Tuesday’s conference opener.
Mission accomplished.
Plymouth’s boys claimed wins in seven of 12 events and grabbed the top two spots in the individual medley, the 200 free relay and the diving competition for a 113-65 victory at home.
“It was huge. We lost this meet last year because we didn’t have a key swimmer, and most of my team were freshmen,” said Plymouth Head Boys Swim Coach Leanne Senter. “They’re a little stronger now, they know a little bit more about what they’re doing and how to go about it. We hadn’t lost to NorthWood in a long time until last year. We were ready to swim this meet, fired up and ready to go.”
Senter adjusted her relay lineups and was rewarded with top finishes in all three races, including Plymouth’s one-two result in the 200 free relay. Eliot Eads subbed into the last leg of the Pilgrims’ medley relay, and the team dropped 18 seconds off its previous best this season to nip NorthWood by just a quarter of a second with a 1:54 to start off the meet strong.
Tom Serf and Brandon Brashere went one-two in the IM race, while Eads finished first in the 100 free and opened for Plymouth’s 400 free relay squad. Sage Slater and Brady Ruffing claimed the top two spots in the diving competition, and Ben Shortt contributed to wins in all three of the relays. Jared Hill won the 500 free and swam the anchor leg on both of Plymouth’s freestyle relays to help seal wins in those events as well.
“Diving helped, and we kind of knew times ahead of time, and you try and match up the best you can,” said Senter. “I did some things a little differently tonight. The relays, I juggled those around a little bit, and that helped. We had a little more depth than they did, but they had some good swimmers and we knew it’d be some competition.”
While Plymouth’s boys got the win, the outnumbered Lady Pilgrims were disappointed by a 97-63 loss to the NorthWood girls Tuesday.
With only seven girls on this year’s squad, Plymouth’s girls team has been consistently beaten by the numbers game as the team stretches those athletes across 12 events.
“The numbers game kills us. It kills us,” said first-year head coach Katie Kappler. “We do the best we can. The girls swim as tough as they can. They have more swimmers than we do so they make another relay, they have double the numbers in events. I play around with the lineup, but there’s only so much I can do with it.”
Katelyn Brown won the breast stroke for the Pilgrims in 1:23.7, while Megan Senter finished first in the 500 free with a 6:21.52, and the team of Brown, Layne Holloway, Lauren Page and Sidney Listenberger dropped time to beat NorthWood by nearly seven seconds with a 2:01.29 in the 200 freestyle relay.
Kappler was also pleased from a solid performance from Lexi Fetters as she finished second in the fly, third in the backstroke and swam a leg on Plymouth’s second-place 400 free relay squad with Brown, Senter and Holloway.
“Our 200 free relay dropped. Everyone swam 30 seconds or less, which was awesome. Our 400 relay, girls dropped times. Megan Senter’s swimming right where she should be, so we’re looking forward to good sectionals. After Christmas break, they’ll be ready,” said Kappler.
Plymouth enters its conference schedule full force with three straight conference meets in the next two weeks, beginning with Goshen at home Thursday.
“We have four conference meets in a row. We have Goshen coming here Thursday. Last year they beat us handily, but they had 10 seniors. It should be a good meet. It’ll be close. I’ll try and match up to win races, but our guys are stepping up,” said Leanne Senter.
“Our conference is really tough,” said Kappler. “They have very fast swimmers, and they put up a lot of competitive swimmers. We’re going to keep our focus on what we do as individuals. We’re going to swim our times, we’re going to work on getting our personal bests.”
At Plymouth
200 medley relay: 1. Plymouth (Tom Serf, Brandon Brashere, Ben Shortt, Elliot Eads) 1:54.0, 2. NorthWood 1:54.25; 200 freestyle: 1. Justen Hochstetler (N) 2:10.62, 2. Jake Snyder (N) 2:13.96; 200 Individual Medley: 1. Serf (P) 2:27.69, 2. Brashere (P) 2:35.04; 50 freestyle: 1. Aaron Troxel (N) 23.87, 2. Eads (P) 24.74; Diving: 1. Sage Slater (P) 177.7, 2. Brady Ruffing (P) 123.5; 100 butterfly: 1. Riley Smith (NW) 1:08.1, 2. Shortt (P) 1:08.84; 100 freestyle: 1. Eads (P) 56.45, 2. Hochstetler (N) 56.89; 500 freestyle: 1. Jared Hill (P) 5:50.44, 2. Derreck Stahly (NW) 5:53.34; 200 freestyle relay: 1. Plymouth (Jordan Wendel, Shortt, Blake Milliser, Hill) 1:46.56, 2. Plymouth 1:51.86; 100 backstroke: 1. Stahly (N) 1:04.92, 2. Serf (P) 1:05.47; 100 breast stroke: 1. Troxel (N) 1:08.86, 2. Brashere (P) 1:15.27; 400 freestyle relay: 1. Plymouth (Eads, Blake Milliser, Shortt, Hill) 3:49.54, 2. NorthWood 3:50.07.
At Plymouth
200 medley relay: 1. NorthWood (Brittani Grove, Karlie Kratzchmar, Emily Hoffman, Rachel Enright) 2:11.1, 2. Plymouth 2:17.73; 200 freestyle: 1. Enright (N) 2:15.21, 2. Megan Senter (P) 2:20.05; 200 Individual Medley: 1. Hoffman (N) 2:37.21, 2. Lauren Page (P) 2:42.35; 50 freestyle: 1. Grove (N) 25.64, 2. Layne Holloway (P) 29.65; Diving: 1. Melissa Berger (N) 219.1, 2. Alayna Holmquest (P) 179.4; 100 butterfly: 1. Hoffman (N) 1:13.19, 2. Lexi Fetters (P) 1:21.9; 100 freestyle: 1. Grove (N) 55.88, 2. Natalie Hostetler (N) 1:11.59; 500 freestyle: 1. Senter (P) 6:21.52, 2. Jamie McBride (N) 6:26.38; 200 freestyle relay: 1. Plymouth (Holloway, Sidney Listenberger, Page, Katelyn Brown) 2:01.29, 2. NorthWood 2:08.01; 100 backstroke: 1. Enright (N) 1:11.7, 2. Page (P) 1:16.62; 100 breast stroke: 1. Brown (P) 1:23.7, 2. Destiny Hossler (N) 1:26.71; 400 freestyle relay: 1. NorthWood (Enright, Hoffman, Kratzchmar, Grove) 4:10.21, 2. Plymouth 4:26.63