Skyline Star Power Leads Championship Run with 6 Event Wins
By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com
March 12, 2022
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.)
Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium
By Jason Schmitt
Special for MHSAA.com
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.”
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.”
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.
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.)