No Fazing Holland in Repeat Run

November 21, 2012

By Jon Malavolti
Special to Second Half

ROCHESTER – Holland High girls swimming and diving coach Don Kimble said his squad talked about it all year.

“The second one is harder than the first one,” he said. “The second one, you’ve got a target on your back. Everybody’s looking for you. You sort of swim a little tight – you don’t want to be the one that loses it.”

On top of all that pressure, the Dutch had some other challenges they didn’t have last year while winning their first Lower Peninsula Division 2 title. Last year, Holland lifted the trophy at the nearby Holland Aquatic Center. This year, the Dutch would had to traverse across the state to Oakland University a few hours east, and face some new teams like Ann Arbor Skyline and East Grand Rapids that moved into Division 2 after competing in Division 1 or 3 in 2011.

But Holland wasn’t fazed by any of it, defending its title in convincing fashion.

The Dutch receive a Second Half High 5 this week after winning their second straight MHSAA championship. Prior to last season, they finished runner-up three straight seasons.

This time, they dominated the relays – taking first in all three, while also finishing first in four individual races. Holland grabbed crucial points with a second-place finish and three third-place finishes in the individual events, while its depth rounded things out on the day with nine finishes between ninth and16th.

Holland sophomore Taylor Garcia epitomized the team’s toughness, finishing first in all four races she swam – the 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay – all while dealing with a broken thumb.

“I think it affected my butterfly turns a little bit, and also I was a little tentative on my finishes,” she said. “I’m glad I just got to swim and didn’t need surgery or anything”.

Kimble was impressed with her performance despite the setback that has hampered her the past few weeks.

“She hasn’t been able to train all out,” he said. “To go the times she did today … it’s remarkable.”

Garcia wasn’t the only member of the Dutch proving her resolve on Saturday.

Junior Holly Morren won the 100 freestyle and finished second in the 50 free, while also helping the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams finish first.

Kimble noted how vastly she improved her performance from the preliminaries the day before.

“Holly came back with a vengeance,” he said Saturday. “She was really disappointed where she ended up yesterday, but made the effort today to step up.”

The third Holland team member to take home an individual title is another reason why the Dutch should be favored to three-peat. Cassie Misiewicz, a junior, will look to defend her 500 freestyle title next year, as well as improve on her third-place finish in the 200 free. She also swam on the first-place 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

In fact, the Dutch will graduate just one senior who scored points at this year’s Finals – Melissa Vandermeulen, who capped off her career nicely with a pair of third-place finishes in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, while also swimming on the first-place 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

Surely there will be more challenges that pop up in the way of Holland’s title run next year.

But no one should believe the Dutch won’t figure out a way to get it done, again.

PHOTO: Holland swimmer Abi Johns gives a thumbs up after one of her events during Saturday's Division 2 Finals at Oakland University. (Click to see more from

Performance of the Week: Marquette's Grace Sobczak

February 24, 2023

Grace SobczakGrace Sobczak ♦ Marquette
Junior ♦ Swimming

Marquette’s girls swimming & diving team won its second straight and fourth Upper Peninsula Finals championship in five seasons Saturday, and Sobczak led the charge with championships in the 200-yard individual medley (23.42 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:35.02) and as part of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.

The individual championships were the third and fourth Finals titles of Sobczak’s career – she won the 500 for the third time in three tries – and the pair of relay wins raised her Finals count to four total in those races as well. The championship capped an undefeated season for the team. While swimming always has been her primary sport, Sobczak played a variety growing up and runs cross country in the fall.

@mhsaasports 🏊‍♀️POW: Grace Sobczak #performanceoftheweek #swimming #swimmer #statechamp #champions #marquette #congrats #uppower #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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2022-23 Honorees

Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

(Photos by Jonathan Young/Marquette High School.)