Preview: Fast Finals in Weekend Forecast

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 25, 2021

Lower Peninsula boys swimming & diving has come back in a big, or rather really fast, way this winter.

The sport was halted days before last season’s MHSAA Finals. But contenders have sped through this season at an impressive pace – and have loaded this weekend’s championship meets with plenty of storylines.

Diving is Friday and all swimming Saturday – click for more meet details (and note that in Division 3 all diving is at Hamilton High School and all swimming at the Holland Aquatic Center). Because of the large numbers of participants, spectators are not allowed this weekend – but both days of all three meets will be streamed live and viewable with subscription on

Here’s a glance at team and individual favorites:

Lower Peninsula Division 1 at Hudsonville

Top-ranked teams: 1. Ann Arbor Pioneer, 2. Holland West Ottawa, 3. Detroit Catholic Central.

With no Finals competed in 2020, Holland West Ottawa remains the reigning champion – and is expected to give a mighty Pioneer team its strongest competition. Pioneer is seeking its first championship since 2009 and first top-two Finals finish since 2011, and enters with all three relays and 25 individual entries seeded to score plus three divers competing. West Ottawa will have all three relays competing with 11 individual entries seeded to score. DCC was the runner-up to West Ottawa at that most recent Finals two seasons ago, and the Shamrocks will attempt to earn their first championship with all three relays and 12 entries seeded to score and one diver competing.

Matt Adanin, Saline junior – He’s the favorite in the backstroke at his first Finals with a seed time of 49.94, and he’s also seeded third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:42.76).

Conner Halberg, Northville senior – After also qualifying as a top contender in the 500 and 200 freestyles last season, Halberg enters this weekend top-seeded in the 500 (4:36.8) and second-seeded in the 200 (1:40.94).

Dane Herrick, Lake Orion senior – The top seed in the 50 (21.01) and fourth seed in the 100 freestyle (46.82) also was slated to contend in both in 2020.

Ryan Hume, Ann Arbor Pioneer junior – Slated to swim other races last season, Hume is a favorite in his pair of individual events this weekend with the top seed in the individual medley (1:52.58) and second seed in the 500 (4:37.74).

Matthew Segal, Ann Arbor Pioneer senior – He earned a third in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the breaststroke as a sophomore and was the favorite in the breaststroke and second-seeded in the IM last season. He comes into this weekend seeded first in both the 200 free (1:39.62) and breaststroke (53.99), the latter with a time only four tenths of a second off the all-division/class Finals record.

Fletcher Smith, Huron Valley United junior – He qualified in the backstroke and butterfly last year and this weekend should contend in both with the top seed in the butterfly (50.58) and seventh in the 200 free.

Jack VanHowe, Rochester junior – A backstroke contender and 100 free qualifier a year ago, he is the top seed in the 100 (46.35) and second seed in the backstroke (50.02) this time.

Ann Arbor Pioneer’s 400 freestyle relay – The Pioneers’ top seed time of 3:04.99 is 2.9 seconds faster than the field and 2.93 seconds off the all-division/class Finals record.  

Cole Tremewan, Ann Arbor Pioneer senior – He finished fifth at the Finals as a freshman and second as a sophomore, and his 507.55 Regional score last week was nearly 27 points higher than the next contender’s total and one of only five scores across the three Regionals above 400.

Lower Peninsula Division 2 at Jenison

Top-ranked teams: 1. Birmingham Seaholm, 2. Grosse Pointe South, 3. Ann Arbor Skyline. 

The Maples will be competing for a first team championship since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 and enter the weekend with all three relays and 13 entries seeded to score plus three divers competing. Grosse Pointe South will make a run at its first team title since 1968, boasting all three relays and nine entries seeded to score and a diver competing. Skyline chased Pioneer during the regular season and could join its neighbor as a champion with all three relays and 10 entries seeded to score, plus a diver. Skyline won the Division 1 championship in 2018.

Aidan Boldt, St. Clair Shores Lakeview senior – He finished fourth in the 200 and 500 freestyles as a sophomore and had top-three seeds in both heading into last year’s Finals. This weekend he has the top seed in the 200 (1:42.16) and second seed in the 500 (4:39.05).

Gianni Carlino, Grosse Pointe North junior – He and Boldt will be chasing each other; Carlino also was expected to contend in the 200 and 500 freestyles last season and has the second seed in the 200 (1:42.90) and top seed in the 500 (4:38.84) this weekend.

Michael Grover, Byron Center junior – He made a jump to the fifth seed in the breaststroke in 2020 and this time is the top seed in that race (56.73) and eighth seed in the IM.

Jack Hamilton, Berkley senior – Hamilton has another chance to build on his backstroke championship and third place in the IM as a sophomore. He’s the top seed in the backstroke (49.30) for the third season in a row and this time by nearly two seconds, and he’s also the second seed in the IM (1:51.94).

Trevor Jones, Farmington senior – The top-seeded contender in both the IM (1:51.79) and 100 free (45.55) was ninth in the butterfly in Division 1 as a sophomore and expected to contend in the butterfly and 200 free in Division 2 last season.

Avery LeTourneau, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central senior – He was seeded to score in both the 200 free and butterfly last season and is again, this time sixth in the 200 and the favorite in the butterfly (49.69).

Micah Scheffer, Temperance Bedford junior – After taking fifth in the 50 and 11th in the 100 freestyle as a freshman, Scheffer was seeded eighth in both the 50 and butterfly last season. But this weekend he’s moved up to the top seed in the 50 (21.07) and third in the butterfly (50.72).

Kameron Liberman, Birmingham Seaholm senior – His 525.45 was the highest in all of Division 3’s Regionals last week. He improved from 12th at the Finals as a freshman to fifth as a sophomore.

Lower Peninsula Division 3 at Holland Aquatic Center/Hamilton

Top-ranked teams: 1. East Grand Rapids, 2. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 3. Holland Christian. 

Even after the year off, there are some interesting streaks worth noting in this division. The 2018 and 2019 Division 3 Finals ended with Holland Christian as champion and East Grand Rapids as runner-up, and the Pioneers have actually finished second four straight seasons and last won the team title in 2013. Cranbrook was the champion four straight seasons from 2014-17. The Pioneers will bring potentially the two strongest divers plus all three relays and 13 entries seeded to score, while Cranbrook will lean on three relays and nine entries seeded among the top 16 in their events. Holland Christian’s three-peat could rely on three relays and 10 top-16 individual entries, plus a diver.

Charles Brown, Spring Lake junior – Brown has jumped from an expected middle-placing sprinter in 2020 to a major contender with the second-fastest 50 seed time (21.14) and best in the butterfly (51.08).

Jonas Cantrell, Mason senior – Cantrell is another of a handful of past champions getting another shot as he’s seeded first in both the 200 (1:40.01) and 500 (4:34.97) freestyles after winning the 500 and finishing third in the 200 as a sophomore.

Andrew Dobrzanski, Milan junior – Dobrzanski also is a past champion, having won the breaststroke and taken second in the IM in 2019. He’s seeded first in both this weekend with seed times of 54.79 and 1:50.87, respectively.

Colin Kalkman, Holland Christian senior – Kalkman was third in the IM and fifth in the backstroke and part of a championship relay two seasons ago, and he returns as the top seed in the 100 free (47.04) and second in the backstroke (53.04).

Tyler Ray, Pinckney junior – He was off to a great start with an eighth in the butterfly and 12th in the backstroke as a freshman and qualified for both in Division 2 a year ago. Back in Division 3 this weekend, he’s seeded first in the backstroke (52.95) and second in the butterfly (51.44).

Jacob Ryan, Detroit Country Day senior – He has posted a combined three top-eight Finals finishes in the 50 or 100 freestyles and was expected to pick up two more last season. He could be in for a big high school finale seeded first in the 50 (21.01) and second in the 100 (48.02) this weekend.

Charley Bayer, East Grand Rapids junior – Pioneers divers posted the two highest total scores at Regionals, with Bayer edging senior teammate Billy Kirchgessner. Bayer was eighth as a freshman in 2019, when then-sophomore Kirchgessner finished third, and both were slated to dive last season as well.

PHOTO: Matthew Segal, here against Ann Arbor Huron on Feb. 25, brings a pair of individual top seeds into the Division 1 Finals as he attempts to help top-ranked Pioneer secure its first team title since 2009. (Photo courtesy of We Love Ann Arbor.)

Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium

By Jason Schmitt
Special for

March 11, 2023

ROCHESTER — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood edged top-seeded East Grand Rapids by one hundredth of a second Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Oakland University.

The Cranes celebrated their victory in the meet’s first event like they had just won the state championship. Little did everyone in attendance know that when all was said and done, that razor-thin margin would in fact be the difference, as Cranbrook captured its first Finals title since 2017. The Cranes totaled 271 team points, beating out the two-time reigning champion Pioneers (259) by 12 points. 

“I’m one of those coaches, I score out the psych sheet, I score out the entries and EGR was 11 points up on us coming into today,” Cranbrook head coach Paul Ellis said. “(Winning) that first relay, that was a 12-point swing. That got the snowball rolling, and we continued to feed off that and go fast.”

Freshman A.J. Farner, senior Ethan Schwab and sophomores Sean Lu and Joe Wiater got the win for Ellis’s team. Schwab and Wiater swam the top splits in their legs, with Wiater rallying his team to victory in the final freestyle leg.

“That win by one one-hundredth really set the tone for the meet,” Schwab said. “It was great to come out with my team and have fun in the first relay and then bring the energy into the next event.”

Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. Schwab brought the energy to all four of his swims at the Finals. The Michigan-bound Schwab won three of the races he entered and set LP Division 3 Finals records in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke this weekend. His time of 1:48.23 in Saturday’s IM beat the record he set just a day earlier in the prelims. He then finished with a 54.31 in the 100 breaststroke, beating out Wayland’s Zachery Jenison by more than two seconds but falling just short of his record-setting time of 54.04, set in Friday’s preliminary round.

Schwab was named Swimmer of the Meet by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for his efforts, which also included a runner-up finish as part of the 400 freestyle relay.

Cranbrook’s 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Robbie Sarle, senior Christos Tzoumakas, Wiater and junior Will Farner beat out top-seeded and 2022 event champion Grand Rapids Christian for the win. It was one of four victories for the Cranes.

“It was just a phenomenal team effort from top to bottom,” Ellis said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone nickel and dimed their way into the top 16 and nickel and dimed their way by moving up a little bit in each final swim that we had.

“We had huge swims from Will Farner, A.J. Farner and Sean Lu. Joe Wiater was injured last year. He came back and was consolation in the 50 and top eight in the breaststroke. It was a whole bunch of guys from all different classes that did it for us. I’m thrilled with everything they did.”

East Grand Rapids, which came in having won the Division 3 title in both 2021 and 2022, actually took slim leads over Cranbrook after eight events and again after 10. Junior Carter Kegle won the 500 freestyle for the second-straight year, beating out Plainwell freshman Sam Harper by five seconds. The win helped his team take a 10-point lead over Cranbrook. Kegle would finish second in the 200 freestyle and helped his Pioneers win the 400 freestyle relay to end the day. Junior Micah Spitzley and seniors Ted Turnage and Logan McCahill joined Kegle on the winning relay.

“We swam great. We broke three or four school records, and we were in the hunt,” East Grand Rapids head coach Milton Briggs said. “Give credit to Cranbrook. They beat us in that (medley) relay and they won the 200 free relay, which they weren’t supposed to. They had a great second day. They swam out of their minds. They’re a very, very good team.”

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. Grand Rapids Christian junior Ben Sytsma won the 50 freestyle and finished runner-up in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 in a time of 20.57 seconds, edging Manistee junior Alec Lampen by three tenths of a second. 

Lampen rebounded to win the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.30 seconds. 

Chelsea’s Mitch Brown rolled to victory in the 1-meter diving competition. The junior scored 522.25, outdistancing second-place Gryffin Porter of Haslett (428.75). DeWitt freshman Carson Reynolds was third with 419.65 points.

Fremont senior Matheus Garcia won the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 44.75 seconds. He beat out Sytsma (44.96) and McCahill (45.20).

The state saw a glimpse of the future, as a pair of freshmen walked away with championships. Otsego’s Liam Smith won the 100 butterfly, and Adrian’s London Rising was tops in the 200 freestyle. Smith entered the weekend with the top-seeded time but was second after Friday’s preliminaries to Holland senior James Baer.

“I always put pressure on myself,” said Smith, who won the final with a time of 49.74. “I came in as the 1-seed so I felt like I had to finish as the 1-seed. But at the same time, I have three more years to come in and do it all over again. It feels awesome.”

Rising, who was second to Kegle after the prelims, said he was stressing out heading into the prelims and all night Friday. 

“All night, I was just visualizing my race,” said Rising, who also finished third in the 100 butterfly. “When I came back, I was more nervous than excited but after I won, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Today, I just focused on myself and didn’t underestimate anybody. I thought it was going to be a good race, and it was.”

Holland Christian finished third with 161 points, and Adrian (135) and Grand Rapids Christian (110) rounded out the top five.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Cranbrook Kingswood’s Ethan Schwab launches into one of his races Saturday at Oakland University. (Middle) Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. (Below) Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)