Young Chelsea Swim and Dive Team Has Good Showing at White Finals

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Article and Photo provided by Coach Andrew Thomson

After only an eight-week season, the CHS boys swim and dive team traveled to Dexter on March 12 and 13 for the SEC White Division championship meet to wrap up the season for the majority of the team. The Bulldogs looked to stay competitive in the division, and avenge an early-season loss to Adrian in January. The Bulldogs came up short of that goal, finishing 11 points behind Adrian. Dexter won the championship (584 points), with Pinckney in second (432), Jackson finishing third (428), and Adrian in fourth (241). The Bulldogs 230 points earned them fifth place overall, while Lincoln finished sixth (199) and Tecumseh was seventh (53).

Head Coach Andrew Thomson was very pleased with the overall effort from the team after the abbreviated season. “After the meet was over I was back at the pool tallying up the results, we had 23 of a possible 24 individual performances that were season-best times. That’s absolutely unheard of.” The Bulldogs managed to drop nearly a full second per 50 yards swam, which is also well above average.

The divers competed on Friday night, where freshman Mitch Brown and senior Michael Hanna looked to shine. Brown finished SEC runner-up with a final of 445.25 points and Hannah placed eighth with 186.55 points. After the meet dive coach Kristy Richart remarked, “For Mitch this was his first chance to perform an 11-dive list and we could not have asked for much better. For Michael, he far exceeded his own expectations for this year, having just completed an 11-dive list last season as a junior.”

On Saturday, the medley relay team of Joel Burke, Jack Leissner, Stephen Levine and Mitch Brown started off the meet, finishing sixth (1:58:53), while the B relay team of Gus Alafita, Bram Hartsuff, Brennan Bagbey, and Rollen Zachrich placed fourteenth (2:12.12). In the 200 freestyle, Parker Olk improved his seeding for the upcoming state meet, finishing as SEC runner-up (1:50.48), while Hartsuff finished thirteenth (2:06.08) and Owen Critchfield placed fourteenth (2:06.74). In the 50 freestyle Critchfield led the Bulldogs, finishing eleventh overall (25.30) with teammate Levine right behind in thirteenth place (25.52).

Olk again led the Bulldogs in the 100 butterfly, finishing runner-up (55.34), while Levine touched ninth (1:04.36). Joseph Grudzinski was the fastest Bulldog in the 100 freestyle, earning thirteenth place (58.44). Hartsuff was the lone Chelsea representative in the 500 freestyle and he dropped big time to finish tenth (5:41.16). The 200 freestyle relay team of Olk, Critchfield, Brown and Levine finished third overall (1:38.23), earning a spot on the podium. The team of Alafita, Misha McElrath, Bagbey, and Gabe Muckle placed thirteenth (2:07.28).

The 100 backstroke saw a couple Bulldogs in scoring position. Burke placed fourteenth (1:07.26), while Zachrich was sixteenth (1:12.71). Hanna led the team in the 100 breaststroke, earning ninth (1:12.84), with teammate McElrath finishing thirteenth (1:20.90) and Leissner in fifteenth (1:22.74). The meet wrapped up with the 400 freestyle relay team of Olk, Brown, Grudzinski and Critchfield finishing fourth (3:40.55) and the B team of Burke, Hartsuff, McElrath and Hanna placing twelfth (4:04.86).

The Bulldogs will now shift their focus toward the dive regional meet and state meet over the next two weeks. Said Thomson, “We had hoped against hope that we might be able to sneak in a relay over the weekend, but it was just too tall of a mountain to climb with this shortened season and only 14 guys at the meet.” Mitch Brown will dive in the regional qualifying meet on Thursday, March 18, and both he and Parker Olk will begin looking ahead to the state meet on March 26 and 27 in the Holland area.

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