With its Upper Peninsula Finals championship won Saturday, the Marquette girls swimming & diving team tied the MHSAA Finals record for most team championships in the sport – matching the 24 titles won by East Grand Rapids.
The first MHSAA Finals for girls swimming & diving were hosted in 1972. Finals were separated into Upper and Lower Peninsula meets in 1980, with Upper Peninsula girls teams competing during the winter and Lower Peninsula teams continuing to compete during the fall.
The Marquette girls won that first Upper Peninsula Finals in 1980 and the next season’s as well, then finished second four times before claiming their third championship in 1989. In addition to their 24 championships, they’ve also finished Finals runner-up 12 times. They strung together a record 12 straight titles from 2002-12.
Among individual standouts, Jenny Laughna’s UP Finals record in the 500-yard freestyle (5:13.60) from 1994 continues to stand, and she at one time also held meet records in the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Hanna Cowley is another interesting notable – her 2008 UP Finals record in the 100 freestyle stood until last winter, and her 50 freestyle record from 2008 wasn’t broken until 2020. She was a freshman for Marquette that 2008 season, and after her family moved downstate she won six more individual championships (three in the 100 and three in the 200 freestyle) and swam on four championship relays, all in Lower Peninsula Division 1 for Ann Arbor Pioneer.
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Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
PHOTO The 1995 Marquette girls swimming & diving team won the program's eighth Upper Peninsula Finals championship. (MHSAA file photo)
Kaylee Draper ♦ Sturgis
Junior ♦ Swimming
Draper joined teammates Kenzy Triezenberg, Ainsley Gump and Emma Garbine to swim the 200-yard medley relay in 1:55.53 on Sept. 7 against Hastings, breaking a school record from 1997. Draper also won the 50 freestyle with a Finals cut time of 25.47 seconds as Sturgis won the dual 92-69. Two days later, she swam on the winning 200 medley again and the 200 freestyle relay and was second in the 50 butterfly as the Trojans won the Mason Sprint Invitational.
She helped Sturgis finish 28th at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals, placing eighth in the 100 backstroke and 14th in the 50 freestyle and swimming on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay. She also runs cross country during the fall and is a pole vaulter and thrower on the track & field team.
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(PHOTOS courtesy of the Sturgis Journal.)