|Sunday, March 14, 2004
Holland wins its first D1 title
By Joanne C. Gerstner / The Detroit News
ANN ARBOR - It took three hours, 11 events and about a hundred swimmers to reach this dramatic point in the boys Division I swimming and diving final.
Holland and Ann Arbor Pioneer both did the math and knew what was at stake in the last event of the meet - the state championship.
Holland was up only by six points over Pioneer, meaning the winning 400-yard relay team would also likely deliver the state title.
The race was tight in the University of Michigan pool, coming down to the final leg between Holland senior Evan Kobes and Pioneer sophomore Sho Koba.
Kobes touched first, saw the new state record time, pumped his fist in the air, knew what had just happened - Holland won its first Division I state title, 264 points to Pioneer's 252.
"This program has been building for the past five years for this moment," said Holland Coach Jon Shears, standing dripping wet after a victory jump into the pool with his swimmers.
"I told these swimmers when they came in as freshmen that they would be state champions in four years. And with a lot of faith and hard work, it's come true."
Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice finished third with 201 points.
Pioneer opened up a 33-point lead after eight events. But Holland won the final three events to take the title.
There were many fast swims in the final heats, setting 10 Division I records.
Holland won the 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke events.
Pioneer's Koba, an exchange student from Toyota, Japan, won the 200 free with a state-record time.
Jenison senior Nick Walkotten easily defended his 200 IM and 200 fly state titles.
Grand Haven senior Adam Schmitt also won two titles, taking the 50- and 100-yard freestyle by setting Division I records in both events.
Senior Tylor Fick of Bay City Western, the top scoring diver in the semifinal round, won the final.
You can reach Joanne C. Gerstner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 223-4644.