MARQUETTE – Marquette claimed the Upper Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals championship Saturday by 13 points ahead of 2021 champion Sault Ste. Marie.
Marquette won with 323 points, and Sault Ste. Marie totaled 310. Rounding out the top five were Kingsford (202), Houghton (118.5) and Ishpeming Westwood (112). The championship was Marquette's third in four seasons.
The Redettes came away with four victories out of 12 events, and senior Delaney Marchiol was part of three of them. Marchiol had individual victories in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly and was part of the winning 200 medley relay team with seniors Ella Whalen and Kelsey Glover, and sophomore Grace Sobczak. Marquette’s other victory came from Sobczak in the 500 free.
“I was so nervous coming into today, but I’m so proud of everything that I did today,” Marchiol said. “I managed to pull off two wins that I am beyond proud of myself; I’m proud of my team all around.”
Sault Ste. Marie senior Joanne Arbic capped her career with an impressive day to keep the Blue Devils in team title contention with three first-place finishes and one runner-up. Arbic took home the 100 free and was part of winning 400 and 200 free relay titles, and finished in second in the 50 free.
The 400 free relay team consisted of Arbic, seniors Alyvia Lori and Anna Hildebrand and junior Julie Innerebner. Arbic, along with Hildebrand, Innerebner and sophomore Mia Woolever were the 200 free relay victors. Innerebner also picked up an individual win in the 100 backstroke, and the Blue Devils also received a first place from Olivia Martin in diving.
“It was a rollercoaster for sure, but I’m glad that we all were able to pull together,” Arbic said. The whole team stepped it up a ton, it was so fantastic and I have so much fun out here with the girls. I just had fun, and that’s what it’s all about. I did what I knew that I could and what I needed to do for my team, and that’s what matters.”
Arbic came into the meet with the U.P. Finals record in the 50 free from 2020, and finished second in that event this time to Kingsford sophomore Adelaide McRoberts. With a time of 24.22 seconds, McRoberts broke the record, and Arbic finished just after at 24.53.
McRoberts’ great performance continued with a 24.21 split in the 50 to start the 200 free relay (with the Flivvers finishing second in that event), and she went on to also win the 200 individual medley. She also swam on the runner-up 200 medley relay.
The pushing from coaches and teammates helped her achieve the fastest 50 free mark, McRoberts said.
“I was very proud of myself, but more importantly, I was happy with how much my coaches and my team pushed me to get here today,” McRoberts said. “It was kind of crazy considering that I’m not even a freestyler. It was definitely a shock, but I was very happy with it.”
The only event on the day not won by a Redette, Blue Devil or Flivver was the 100 breaststroke claimed by Houghton senior Leah Komarzee.
Marquette was the expected team winner of the meet, but coach Nate McFarren was left with a sweat to see the final results.
“You always question yourself when it comes to your taper, but after the first event, I really felt like we were ready to go,” McFarren said. “I did not expect only winning by 13, but (Sault Ste. Marie) showed and was ready to go. It was awesome.”
PHOTOS Marquette’s Grace Sobczak launches into her leg of the 400 freestyle relay Saturday. (Middle) Kingsford’s Adelaide McRoberts swims the individual medley, one of two individual races she won at the U.P. Finals. (Photos by Daryl Jarvinen. For more, email [email protected].)
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.)