Two 2010 MHSAA swimming and diving runners-up took the final step and claimed first-ever championships at Saturday’s Finals in Holland and Rochester.
The third MHSAA champion, Farmington HIlls Mercy, added a fifth-straight title despite moving up to Division 1 and a less familiar group of competitors in Ypsilanti.
A total of 12 records fell at the three Finals, including a few times that were the fastest in MHSAA Finals history, regardless of meet. Read on to find out who claimed all three team championships and all the broken records.
Division 1 at Eastern Michigan
Farmington Hills Mercy won its fifth-straight MHSAA championship -- but first in Division 1 after claiming Division 2 titles the last four seasons. The Marlins scored 258 points, 14.5 more than two-time reigning champion Saline.
Six Division 1 meet records fell. Ann Arbor Huron senior Anna DeMonte repeated as 200-yard individual medley champion with a Division 1 meet record time of 1:59.67. She did the same in the 100 backstroke with another meet record time of 54.56.
Other record breakers were Lake Orion senior Annie Jongekrijg in the 100 freestyle (50.32), Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Jaynie Pulte as a repeat champion in the 50 freestyle (23.23), Saline’s 200 medley relay of junior Maddy Frost, senior Sammy Richart and juniors Emily Lau and Cristina Czyrka (1:45.97), and Hudsonville’s 200 freestyle relay of seniors Michaela Rookus, Audra Thornton, sophomore Makayla Myers and junior Danielle Freeman (1:35.46).
Waterford freshman Maddie Wright also won two individual events: the 200 freestyle by more than a second in 1:49.04, and the 100 butterfly by more than a second in 54.82.
Division 2 at Holland Aquatics
After three seasons coming in second, Holland won the MHSAA title by 131 points over runner-up Birmingham Seaholm. The championship was the Dutch’s first in girls swimming and diving.
Senior Courtney Bartholomew finished her career with four more championships, and all four set records at some level. She improved on her Division 2 meet record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:00.06, more than two seconds better than her previous record time. She also set an all-Finals record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 51.99.
Holland’s 200 medley relay of Bartholomew, junior Melissa Vandermeulen, freshman Taylor Garcia and sophomore Holly Morren set an all-Finals record of 1:41.12. Morren, Garcia, senior Klare Northuis and Bartholomew also set a Division 2 meet record of 3:24.46 in the 400 freestyle relay.
Garcia added the Division 2 meet record in the 100 butterfly by winning in 54.39 seconds, more than two faster than the previous record.
Although she didn’t improve on her meet record set previously, Birmingham Groves senior Annie Lazor won the 100 breaststroke title for the fourth time, in 1:02.43.
Division 3 at Oakland
After two seasons of East Grand Rapids first followed by Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, the annual contenders switched places Saturday with Cranbrook-Kingswood winning the MHSAA championship -- also its first.
Cranbrook-Kingswood scored 328.5 points, followed by East Grand Rapids with 265.5.
Only one meet record was set, but three athletes won multiple individual championships. Plainwell freshman Mallory Comerford set that Division 3 meet record, swimming the 50 freestyle in 23.62. She also won the 100 freestyle in 50.46.
Cranbrook-Kingswood junior Kylie Powrie won the 500 freestyle (5:04.30) and 200 freestyle (1:54.98) and Bloomfield Hills Lahser sophomore Ines Chares won the 100 backstroke (56.2) and 100 butterfly (57.21).
East Grand Rapids junior Olivia Kassouni repeated as diving champion with a score of 451.45, and sophomore teammate Anna Stephens was a repeat champion in the 100 breaststroke, in 1:05.75.
MARQUETTE – Thanks to the informative meet announcer, the Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving Finals crowd gets to learn a little bit about each participant – from basic facts like who their parents are to why they like the upcoming race.
In the sprints, that can generate some predictable answers, like the many athletes who pointed out they like that event because it’s one of the shorter races.
Before the grueling 500-yard freestyle event, Marquette senior Grace Sobczak and freshman Olive Krueger brought a little levity and originality, both saying it was because they get to beat the other one.
That, however, is easier said than done for anybody.
Sobczak finished her high school career Saturday a perfect 4-for-4 in the event, and she also repeated as the 200-yard individual medley champion and was part of winning 200 and 400 free relay teams at Marquette Senior High School.
Krueger had a great day as well, pushing Sobczak more than anyone else. She was runner-up in a close finish to Sobczak in the 500 while winning the 100 freestyle and helping the 400 free relay to a win.
“They trained right next to each other,” Marquette coach Nathan McFarren said, “and fed off each other. Just incredible to watch. They one-upped each other and pushed each other up until the race every day.”
They led Marquette to its third-straight U.P. championship as they and their teammates dominated the nine-team field with 386.5 points; runner-up Gladstone had 258. Ishpeming Westwood took third with Kingsford fourth, Houghton fifth, Sault Ste. Marie sixth, Ishpeming/Negaunee seventh, Rudyard eighth and Manistique ninth.
Sobczak said her dad wasn’t a big fan of the pre-race joke, but she said everyone laughed. And in the end, the duo put on a great 500 race with Krueger coming on strong late.
“I had to push myself in that race a lot,” Sobczak said.
That’s her favorite event; she’s a distance swimmer and that’s the only true distance event. Winning that one Saturday and making it a perfect 4-for-4 meant a lot to her.
“It’s amazing, crazy,” Sobczak said. “I got up there, and I started crying because it’s so surreal.”
She was even more reflective at the end of the day.
“I’ve been swimming since I was 6 years old. This was my last race at this pool,” Sobczak said. “We’re three in a row, it’s pretty crazy. Last year I got four (U.P. titles), this year I got four, it’s pretty cool.”
Her coach said she’s quiet but a great leader. She “stepped it up this year with taking charge as a senior,” McFarren said.
And she has a teammate she can pass the baton to in Krueger. While Krueger finished less than two seconds after Sobczak, the next swimmer was more than 30 seconds behind Krueger.
“I knew it’d be close because we always race together, but I’m glad she won,” Krueger said.
Freshman Kaytlin Roell finished first in the 50 free as Marquette won its 28th U.P. Finals team title and fifth over the last six years.
Gladstone senior Adrianna Getzloff had a big day, finishing first in the 200 free and the 100 backstroke. She also helped the Braves to a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
Two of her teammates also had first-place finishes – sophomore Irene Neumeier won the 100 butterfly and junior Mary Hook took the 100 breaststroke. They were also on the 200 relay team along with Ava Getzloff.
Westwood sophomore Maggie Harvala won the diving competition with a score of 214.90.
McFarren made it a combined 17 Finals championships as coach for boys and girls for Marquette, tying Marquette’s Matt Williams for the meet record.
PHOTOS (Top) Marquette's Grace Sobczak swims to a victory in the 500-yard freestyle Saturday. (Middle) Kaytlin Roell swims the 100 breaststroke for Marquette. (Below) Gladstone's Mary Hooks swims to the win in the breaststroke. (Click for more from Jarvinen Photos.)