A total team effort helped lift the Dexter girls’ swim and dive team to a 4th place finish at the Division 2 State Finals at Oakland University Saturday, November 23.
After an 11th place finish in 2018, the Dreadnaughts had a preseason goal of a top 10 finish at the state finals and a strong showing in preliminaries and final lifted the Dreadnaughts to the trophy stand.
“I knew with our strong young divers that we should move into the top 10 this year, but the development of the swimmers with their experience last year, they took another step this year,” Coach Cory Bergen said. “We started the season ranked 10th and as the season moved on progressed and moved up to eighth and some had us ranked 6th.”
The Dreadnaughts were powered by two state champions as well as All State finishes in six other events as the team came through to move Dexter up the standings.
Charlotte Schultz won the state title in the 100 back and was 4th in the 200 free for Dexter.
“This was the first time I put her in the back stroke was at the state meet and she ended up winning,” Bergen said.
Schultz was an All-Stater in the 200 free and 500 free in 2018 so the switch to the back was huge for the Dreadnaughts.
“I like the 100 back, it is more fun then the other events,” Schultz said. “For most the season as swam around the same time each race. At state I was just able to knock a lot of time off.”
Hailee Waters along with Schultz was All State in four events.
Waters finished 7th in the 500 free and was 8th in the 200 free. Her and Schultz teamed with Sam Durrant and Holly Durand to finish 3rd in the 200 free relay and was part of the 400 free relay that finished 5th along with Elizabeth Merz and Durand.
While the swimmers upped their game at the finals, it was the young divers that lifted the Dreadnaughts to the lofty finish.
Freshman Lily Witte was the state champion in the 1-meter diving, setting the Oakland University pool record with a score of 468.40.
Another freshman Vivian Kinnard finished fifth and sophomore Elysa Grossman was 8th, giving the Dreads three All-State honors and huge points in the standings.
“They work really well together,” Dive Coach Shawn Bergman said. “They are a tight group of friends that have been diving together for a while. It is not really an inner-competition between anybody, it is more motivation to be the best that they can.”
Witte has competed in national and international competitions but winning the state title is special to her.
“It’s awesome,” Witte said. “It is for the team and it made the team better.”
Witte and her two diving partners will give Dexter a bright with the three All-Staters being two freshman and a sophomore.
‘We just all try to do well,” Witte said. “We don’t really try to out dive each other.”
It will be hard to improve on the success of this season for the divers with three earning All-State Honors.
“We will just push them to keep getting person best,” Bergman said. “When you can’t move up in placement anymore, you just try to beat where you were last year.”
It was all about the team Saturday with the fourth place finish.
“Charlotte and Hailee were both All-State in four events, but other stepped up for us,” Bergen said. “Lauren Witte earned points for us last year and she moved up a few spots this year. Sam Durrant scored in the 50 where last year she just made the cut. The development of our swimmers and the addition of the divers, it has taken everybody all year, but the hard work paid off. You can see it in the girls, they are so excited.”
Lauren Witte finished 11th in the back, while Durrant was 16th in the 50 free for Dexter. The 200 medley realy team of Jackie Wyka, Zoe Michos, Lauren Witte, and Durrant finished 13th.
Also competing, but not moving on to Saturdays finals were Elizabeth Merz 20th in the 200 free, Lauren Witte 21st 100 butterfly, Ella Krahn 26th 500 free, Maddi Matos 23rd 100 back, Jackie Wyka 38th 100 back, Holly Durand 100 back, and Zoe Michos 19th in the 100 breast.
Dexter is a relatively young team as none of the individual point getters were seniors. Their goals for 2020 will be a lot loftier than they top 10 finish they had set out for themselves this season and one thing is for certain, they will do it as a team.