Title IX at 50: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 22, 2022

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.

 

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

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PHOTO The 1995 Marquette girls swimming & diving team won the program's eighth Upper Peninsula Finals championship. (MHSAA file photo)

Sobczak goes 4-for-4 Again to Lead Marquette to 3rd-Straight Finals Title

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

February 17, 2024

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.”

Kaytlin Roell swims the 100 breaststroke for Marquette.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.”

Gladstone's Mary Hooks swims to the win in the breaststroke.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.

Click for full results.

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.)