Northern Michigan University’s Rachel Helm, Grantas Dapkus, coach Heidi Voigt earn GLIAC swimming accolades

Rachel Helm

JENISON — The Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams earned several individual honors at the GLIAC Championships held at Jenison High School in suburban Grand Rapids from Wednesday through Saturday.

Wildcat junior Grantas Dapkus was named GLIAC Co-Men’s Swimmer of the Year while NMU coach Heidi Voigt was named GLIAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year. It was Voigt’s second coach of the year honor to go with one she earned in the 2015-16 season.

In addition, sophomore Rachel Helm earned conference Women’s Swimmer of the Year.

The NMU men finished their meet in second place with 854 points, while the women were third in their meet with 755 1/2.

Here are synopses of the final two days of the GLIACs:

Grantas Dapkus


Bundzis set men’s record

Junior Renars Bundzis set the GLIAC record in the 200-yard backstroke on Saturday when he clocked 1 minute, 44.00 seconds for the victory. Junior Joshua Cosgrove was fifth in an NCAA “B” cut qualifying time of 1:48.61.

Sophomore Lajos Budai won the 100 freestyle in a “B” cut time of 44.38 seconds, while junior Janne Roovers was second in the 1,650 free in 15:44.73, another “B” cut.

Also Saturday, the 400 free relay team of sophomores Jonas Reinhold and Maks Kapustin, Cosgrove and Budai were third.

Heidi Voigt

On Friday, NMU picked up four victories. Dapkus won the 500 free in 4:29.80, then joined Reinhold and juniors Esteban Gutierrez and Ryan Leonard to win the 800 free relay. It was Northern’s third straight year winning the event.

Roovers was second in the 500 free in 4:33.47 and Reinhold fourth in 4:34.92, both “B” cuts, too.

Budai won the 100 backstroke for the second year in a row in 47.55. Bundzis was third as each made the “B” cut. Cosgrove was fifth and Gutierrez seventh.

Junior David Miranda won the 200 butterfly in 1:48.40, with Leonard third in 1:49.96, both “B” cuts.

Junior Arnoldo Herrera was third in the 100 breaststroke in 55.26 for a “B” cut, while junior Benjamin Lindberg was eighth in 57.12 and junior Nathan Rotundo, a Marquette Senior High School grad, also gave NMU points in 15th.


Helm wins 4 events

On Saturday, Helm won her fourth individual event of the meet and eighth in her two years at NMU when she won the 200 back in a GLIAC-record 1:56.38. Junior teammate Regan Kilburn was sixth and junior Becca Arakelian seventh.

Freshman Lena Soulas won the 100 free in 50.94 seconds, with freshman teammate Margaret Vaitkus sixth in 52.68.

Freshman Katharina Springhetti laid claim to the 200 breast event for her first GLIAC title, winning in 2:17.80 in a photo finish. Junior teammate Dana Stroven was seventh in 2:21.04.

And in the 1,650 free, freshman Gabriella Spajic was second in 17:14.23, while the 400 free relay team of Soulas, senior Hannah Crump, Vaitkus and Helm placed second in 3:27.73.

On Friday, Helm defended her GLIAC Championships title in the 100 back in 53.91 seconds while setting an NCAA “A” cut time, one that guarantees her a spot in the nationals. Kilburn clocked 56.03 for a “B” cut in the same race.

The Wildcats’ 800 free relay team was second on Friday in 7:35.38 with Spajic, Arakelian, Soulas and Helm.

In third was Arakelian in the 500 free in 5:05.09, while in fifth was Springhetti in the 100 breast in 1:04.51 and Stroven sixth in 1:04.62.

In the 200 fly, junior Emily Bell was fourth in 2:05.41, while Spajic finished fifth in 2:06.03 and freshman Cassandra Clark seventh in 2:07.36.

In Friday’s diving, sophomore Jamie Kimble was fourth with 376.70 points.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is