Kiger diving head first into establishing Harrison swim program

By: Mike Moore | Farmington Press | Published October 3, 2012

 Harrison coach Roxanne Kiger is pictured with her team before a dual meet at Farmington High. Kiger is in her first year with the team.

Harrison coach Roxanne Kiger is pictured with her team before a dual meet at Farmington High. Kiger is in her first year with the team.

Photo by Deb Jacques

FARMINGTON — She’s got a solid group of seniors, a youthful bunch of underclassmen, and looking toward the future, a bright outlook on what the program she’s inherited could be.

In fact, Roxanne Kiger believes she stepped in the coaching position with the Farmington Hills Harrison swim team at the perfect time.

“It was a great situation to come into,” the first-year coach said. “There’s a great core group of girls here that understand what it takes to be a leader. The younger girls are committed to improving. The parents have been awesome, and the support from the school has been incredible.”

Kiger said she wasn’t sure how many girls were on the team a year ago, but having 31 this season has been a pleasant surprise.

“And it all starts with the senior class,” she added. “They set the example. They are great leaders, and the rest of the girls feed off that.”

Some of those girls were quick to point to Kiger as their source of inspiration.

“We’ve really enjoyed having her around,” senior Emma Sutherland said before a Sept. 27 dual meet at Farmington High. Harrison won the event 101-74. “She focuses so much on technique and what’s important as far as improvement is concerned. I think she’s been a huge help to a lot of us.”

Sutherland’s statement comes even as the wins have failed to appear.

At press time, the Hawks were 1-6 in dual meets, but Kiger quickly noted the team’s competition — Troy High, Beverly Hills Groves, Birmingham Seaholm and others — as more of a reason for the lopsided record than the skill of the girls in the pool.

“You aren’t going to win a ton of meets with that kind of schedule,” she said with a laugh. “The important part right now is every girl is thinking about this team first, before anything else. They aren’t just here to get a varsity letter. They’re here to see this program grow and make succeeding a top priority.”

“We’re getting better and better. I think that’s obvious,” senior Miranda Shelly said.

With the league, county and state meets all still on the schedule, Kiger said she was anxious to see what the rest of the season holds and just how good her girls can finish.

As for the girls, even the seniors who won’t have a career with the team beyond this season, there’s a resounding sense of confidence regarding the swim program.

“If coach is here, this team is only going to keep getting better every year,” senior Paige Kondek said. “The skill is here, and she’s someone that can work with it.”