Otsego swim coach Darryl Belton talks technique with one of his swimmers. (Photo by Gary Shook)Colin MacRitchie took first place in diving for Plainwell in its meet with Otsego. (Photo by Gary Shook)

Jirgens, France lead Otsego swimmers past rival Plainwell

Jason Wesseldyk

Through eight of the 12 events, the boys’ swim and dive meet between rivals Otsego and Plainwell on Thursday, Dec. 13, couldn’t have been much closer, with the Bulldogs leading by three points.
Things weren’t nearly as close after events nine and 10.
Otsego held a 10-4 scoring edge in the 200-yard freestyle relay and an 11-5 edge in the 100 backstroke to push its lead to 15 points at 85.5-70.5.
That cushion proved to be more than enough as the Bulldogs went on to win the meet 98-5-87.5
Otsego coach Darryl Belton felt neither team was at its best.
“Both teams were a little sluggish, so the times weren’t what you would want at a big rivalry meet,” he said. “But overall, I thought both teams competed really well.”
No swimmers from either side competed better than the Otsego duo of Traxel Jirgens and Dylan France.
In addition to each winning a pair of individual events, Jirgens and France were also part of the winning 200 medley and 200 free relay teams.
Owen Stender accounted for the other individual victory for the Bulldogs.
“Traxel and Dylan swam well for us, as did Owen,” Belton said.
Jirgens’ individual wins came in the 200 IM (2:10.83) and the 100 backstroke (59.22). France won the 50 free (23.83) and the 100 free (52.69).
Jirgens, Stender, Owen Grile and France opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay (1:45.27), with Jirgens, Grile, Dillon Avery and France winning the 200 free relay (1:38.41).
“Owen Grile and Dillon Avery also had some nice swims for us,” Belton said.
Stender’s winning time in the 100 breaststroke was 1:02.49.
Plainwell, meanwhile, came into the meet a little shorthanded.
“We’ve been dealing with a lot of sickness and if we don’t have everyone show up it makes it hard to move around the lineup especially considering we have young team with a lot of new swimmers,” Plainwell coach Andrea Murphy said.
Fortunately for the Trojans, Justin Edgington was able to compete.
Edgington won both the 200 free (1:58.95) and the 500 free (5:29.09) to account for half of Plainwell’s individual wins.
He was also part of the 400 free relay team that closed out the meet by posting the win with a time of 3:43.41. Simon Terpstra, Isaac Viviano and Ivan Emde joined Edgington for the victory.
Emde also won the 100 butterfly at 58.57, while Colin MacRitchie won the diving event with a score of 231.35. Teammate Abe Harnden was runner-up at 212.3.
“Our diving is pretty strong this year,” Murphy said. “We have returning state divers in Colin and Abe, while Jason Perez, Brennan VanBeek and Luke Williams all received All-Conference last year.”
After opening the season with six meets in 18 days, Murphy is excited about having a few weeks to recover before starting back up in January.
“We have a pretty heavy meet schedule this year, averaging two meets a week,” she said. “I’m looking forward to Christmas break when we can get in the water and just train.”


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