Gracie Olsen capped a career full of championships as a senior last fall, winning Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals titles in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 butterfly – and also finishing among the fastest to swim those events in MHSAA history. Her winning IM time of 2:01.58 ranks second on the LPD2 Finals list, while her butterfly winning time of 54.19 seconds ranks fourth in her division’s history.
The Finals championships were the fifth and sixth of Olsen’s career, and she won at least one title all four years of high school. She also swam on third-place 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays as Fenton finished fourth as a team. She will continue her academic and swimming careers at University of Indiana – which finished 11th at last season’s NCAA Division I Championships – and where she intends to major in exercise science.
"I started sports when I was 3 or 4 years old, and I didn't really realize how much of a privilege it was just to be involved. I played multiple sports when I was little – figure skating, soccer, dance, swim, pretty much everything. Of course, I made the decision to stick with swimming, which pretty much made me the person I am today.
“I've made all my best friends. I've become more confident. I've learned how to be a leader. I've learned how to work with others. And there's so much more that the sport has taught me – and without swimming, I'm not sure that I would've been financially able to attend a major university like Indiana. Needless to say, I'm very thankful that because of the opportunity women have to play sports, we also have the opportunities to go to colleges like that and learn all these skills and be a part of this whole community.”
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights
Aug. 2: Maddy Stern's Story - Read
July 26: Reese Miller's Story - Read
July 19: Macy Irelan's Story - Read
July 12: Bridget Boczar's Story - Read
July 5: Ella Boose's Story - Read
June 28: Kaila Jackson's Story - Read
June 23: We Celebrate Our Past, We Look Forward to Our Future - Read
June 21: Assistant Directors Have Been Difference Makers - Read
June 14: Girls Lacrosse Finals Officials Set Empowering Example - Read
June 7: From Gymnastics to Wrestling, Girls Opportunities Continue to Grow - Read
May 31: Mumford Sprinter's Magnificent 2006 Final Remains Unmatched - Read
May 24: Scane, Whiteside Alone on 400-Goal, 500-Point Girls Lacrosse Lists - Read
May 17: Over 8 Days in 1988, Pair of Champs Set No. 1 Singles Standard - Read
May 10: Portage Central's Tarpley Scores as State's Superstar, U.S. Soccer Hero - Read
May 3: Prychitko 'Legend In Her Own Time,' Legend for All Time - Read
April 26: Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups - Read
April 19: Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
Hannah Smith ♦ Temperance Bedford
Swimming ♦ Senior
Smith has senior-season goals, and Saturday’s Monroe County championship meet provided significant momentum as she seeks to fulfill them. Smith was named Athlete of the Meet after winning the 500-yard freestyle in 5:29.47 and qualifying for the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals in the 200 free, also in victory with a time of 2:01.17. Both times were faster than what she posted in swimming those races last season at the LPD2 championship meet.
The senior standout also swam on two relays at last season’s Finals – her team’s 400 free relay finished 16th – and competed on three Finals-qualifying relays as a sophomore and on the 16th-place 200 freestyle relay as a freshman. Her 200 and 500 freestyle times from Saturday both rank just outside the top 50 in the state this season, all divisions combined, in those respective events, and the 500 time was less than three seconds off the Finals-qualifying standard for LPD2 this season. Smith also plays soccer for Bedford, joining the program for the first time this past spring.
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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 courtesy of Hannah Smith.)