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November 14, 2012

Grosse Pointe South swim hopes for strong showing at state meet

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Several members of South’s swim team will be competing at the Division 2 state meet Nov.16-17 at Oakland Univerity Pictured is South swimmer Scrarlet Cockell during a meet earlier this fall.

For some swim programs, just having the opportunity to qualify swimmers for the state meet would be considered a successful season.

But at Grosse Pointe South, merely making it is not the objective. As far as South coach Eric Gunderson is concerned, a strong showing once it gets there is the primary barometer of success for the program.

The Blue Devils will have an opportunity to do just that Nov.16-17, when they compete in the Division 2 state meet at Oakland University. The preliminaries will be held on the Nov.16, followed by the finals the next day.

South had qualified 12 swimmers for the meet at press time, and Gunderson said the Blue Devils could also qualify two divers following a diving regional, which took place Nov. 13, after press time.  With two alternates also in the mix, Gunderson projected South would be heading to Oakland University with 16 participants.

Last season, South finished fourth at the state meet, just one point behind third-place Birmingham Groves. Gunderson is hoping for even bigger things this time around.

“We just got to keep focused and keep working for the next week and a half,” Gunderson said last week. “Hopefully, if we do everything we have to do, the rest will take care of itself. We can’t control what everybody else is going to do. We just got to go out there and put together enough points to place top two.”

Gunderson expressed confidence that the group of girls representing South at the state meet will have their shot at turning that ambition into a reality.

“It’s one thing to get them there, (but) it’s another thing to place at the state meet,” he said. “I think we have (swimmers) in a position to score points on Saturday, which is really the important thing for us as far as getting that second-place finish as a team. We have to score as many points as possible in all of our swims. We’re looking at a lot of girls who have a shot at placing.”

While he may be confident in the abilities of his swimmers, Gunderson also understands the challenge that lies ahead. Despite the domination they have shown within their own league, as evidenced by 12 consecutive Macomb Area Conference Division championships, Gunderson realizes the kind of effort that will be required when the Blue Devils compete against the caliber of swimmers they are likely to encounter at the state meet.

“We know our program is competitive, but we know we have to be at our best in order to take full advantage of our potential,” he said. “There are a lot of other teams that are strong out there as well, and there’s a lot of swimmers competing for a limited number of spots in the finals. We just have to go out there and do the best we can.”

Preliminaries and finals are scheduled for a noon start.

In other local swim news:
Grosse Pointe North swimmers will also be in action in Division 2. The Norsemen finished the regular season 5-6 overall.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.