Boys Swim and Dive Repeats as State Champions Behind Bayer and Kegle’s Individual Wins

As Kenny Pontius ‘22 surged into the wall for the last time as an East Grand Rapids Pioneer, a wave of emotion overcame him. “As I touched the wall I couldn’t help but cry,” Pontius said. “It hurt a lot knowing I won’t have that team ever again, but I was so proud to be their captain.” 

Pontius, along with fellow seniors Charley Bayer, Daniel Willison, and George Samra, captained the boys swim and dive team to a second consecutive state championship, defeating the rest of the Division 3 slate of teams and scoring 272 points, 58 more than second-placed Holland Christian. 

The swim and dive team got a boost from their two individual champions, Bayer in diving and sophomore Carter Kegle in the 500 freestyle. “I was in disbelief,” Kegle said. “I remember dreaming of this day. After prelims I felt good and knew I wanted [the individual title].”

Kegle swam a school record time of 4:34.68, beating second-placed Ethan Schwab of Cranbrook Kingswood by 32 hundredths of a second. Kegle, who was behind Schwab going into the last lap, swam the final 50 yards in just over 26 seconds, a full second faster than Schwab. “Going into the final 50 I saw myself catching up and I knew that I had enough left in the tank to pass him,” Kegle said. 

The team was projected to win by 25 points going into the final day. A combination of good swims by Pioneer swimmers and Holland Christian disqualifying their 200 medley relay secured the championship, the 145th in school history. 

“The individual title was great, but it was so amazing to be a part of a team that one a championship,” Kegle said. 

“I felt proud but not for myself but as a team. I’m proud to say I won states with my team,” Pontius said. 

This story was originally published in the March 31 edition of The East Vision.