ROCHESTER – Sometimes swim & dive teams ride depth and lots of top-5 finishes to state titles, while other times they rely on star power and plenty of first-place finishes.
The Ann Arbor Skyline boys team abided by the latter at Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals at Oakland University.
Of the 12 events held, Skyline finished first in six of them, riding all those first-place points to its first Finals title since it won the Division 1 crown in 2018.
Skyline finished with 291 points, ahead of runner-up Detroit U-D Jesuit’s total of 266.
Grosse Pointe South was third with 238 points.
Leading the way for Skyline was senior Even McKelvey, who had a hand in four of those first-place finishes.
“Winning with the boys is so much more fun than individually,” McKelvey said. “As Bo Schembechler said, ‘The team, the team, the team.’ That’s how we ran all season.”
McKelvey finished first in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:39.21, and then won the 100 freestyle ahead of senior teammate Matthew Lee in a time of 44.89.
The team of McKelvey, junior Jack Stanton, senior Ben Kurniawan and Lee then set an LPD2 Finals record in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:23.72.
To finish the meet off, in the 400 freestyle relay, the team of McKelvey, sophomore Lucas Caswell, Kurniawan and Lee won in a time of 3:05.63.
The individual wins were quite a jump from last year for McKelvey, who was seventh in the 100 freestyle and fifth in the 200 freestyle as a junior.
“Just sprinting it all out and doing the best I could do,” McKelvey said. “I race (good swimmers) every day in practice, so that’s the vision I had in my mind. Just race them like I do in practice.”
Kurniawan and Lee also got in the act individually, with Lee winning the 50 freestyle in a time of 20.63 and Kurniawan capturing the 100 butterfly in a time of 49.31.
“Our star power brought along the rest of the team,” Skyline coach Maureen Murett said. “The reason we were so good this year is because we had tremendous leadership from those guys. It wasn’t good enough for them that they were really good or that they were succeeding. All season long, they were the ones who brought the young guys along. That made the difference. Everybody had a role.”
While Skyline was jubilant over winning another championship trophy, there was a sense of pride for U-D Jesuit claiming the runner-up trophy because it was the best finish in program history.
Senior Drew Collins won the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:50.21, while senior Christian Bouchillon won the 100 backstroke in a time of 49.50 to lead the Cubs.
“Obviously it’s hard for the kids not to focus on the big No. 1. But they did phenomenal and swam their hearts out,” U-D Jesuit coach Drew Edson said. “It’s the best our school has ever done, and they’re happy. We’re going to stay up top for a long time, I’ll tell you that.”
Grosse Pointe South’s 200 medley relay team of junior Keiran Rahmaan, senior Drew Vandeputte, senior Jake Vallan and senior Tucker Briggs set meet record with a winning time of 1:31.85.
Other individual winners were Grosse Pointe South junior Logan Hepner in diving with 509.70 points, Walled Lake Northern junior Sean Diffenderfer in the 500 freestyle in a time of 4:35.67 and Byron Center senior Michael Grovers in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 54.54.
PHOTOS (Top) An Ann Arbor Skyline swimmer begins his leg of the 200 freestyle relay. (Middle) Detroit U-D Jesuit's Drew Collins swims the winning 200 IM. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
We take a look at all of the action from the 2023 MHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals
Congratulations to our State Champions
Division 1 - Ann Arbor Pioneer
Division 2 - Birmingham Groves
Division 3 - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood