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March 15, 2012

Local swimmers, divers excel at state finals

By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer

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Swimmers take off from their blocks at the Division 3 MHSAA boys swimming and diving state finals March 10 at Oakland University. Several top local swimmers and divers excelled at the finals.

The high school boys swimming and diving season came to an end March 10 at the MHSAA state finals.

Several local teams and individuals excelled. Here are the local highlights from Division 1 and 2.

Division 1
Saline won the D-1 title at Eastern Michigan University, scoring 326.5 points. Local coaches were impressed by the performances.

“Top to bottom, it was a very, very fast meet this year,” Utica Ford II coach Dave Smith said. “A lot faster than it’s been the last few years.”

Birmingham Brother Rice coach Mike Venos said it might have been the fastest state meet he’s ever attended.

Both Smith and Venos listed off examples of how a time in a certain race in past seasons may have placed a swimmer in the top 10, but that same time would be hard-pressed to make the top 20 or so this year.

“As a coach, I love this kind of meet. It just makes our guys swim faster,” Venos added.

The Rice coach also noted that because of the talent in the metro Detroit area, local swimmers and divers are better prepared to succeed at the state finals.

“I have often said that this area is one of the fastest in the country,” Venos said. “I believe that we have a little advantage at the state meet because of this. First, we swim fast teams all season, so we are prepared to swim fast at the state championship. Second, when we get to the state meet, we are not as “out of our element” as some other teams.

“We look around at the same kids we have been competing against all season. We are a little more comfortable than most. We love to watch the local kids swim fast, and we take a certain pride in that.”

Local teams scoring points at the D-1 meet are Brother Rice (third place, 176 points), Troy High (seventh, 92.5), Lake Orion (12th, 66), Farmington Hills Harrison (18th, 45) Utica Ford II (26th, 28), Rochester High (28th, 18), Warren Cousino (32nd, 9), Walled Lake Central (T-34th, 6), Utica Eisenhower (T-34th, 6), Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse (T-34th, 6), West Bloomfield (T-38th, 1) and Utica Stevenson (T-38th, 1).

Rice got major points from all three of its relays, which all finished in the top four. Gust Kouvaris and Patrick Nodland swam on all three relays; Spencer Swies and Nikolaus Lehnertz joined them on the 200-yard medley squad, which finished fourth; Joe Morgan and Joe Krause joined them in the 200 freestyle for third place; and Morgan and Josh Murrell joined up for a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle.

Krause also finished in third place of the 100 freestyle and seventh place in the 200 free. Nodland placed fifth in the 50 free, while Kouvaris was seventh in the 100 free.

Top placers from Troy were Miles MacDonald who took fifth in the 100 butterfly; Troy Chen who finished sixth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 200 IM; Zachary Chen who took ninth in the 200 IM; and Rohan Tangri who took eighth in the 100 backstroke. The Colts’ foursome later teamed up to take seventh place in the 400 freestyle relay.

Lake Orion’s Jacob Lindquist took second in the 100 breaststroke, while teammate Zach Diener finished fifth in the 200 free. The duo also joined Devon Nowicki and Steven Abramczyk to take eighth in the 200 freestyle relay.

Harrison’s Eric Gensheimer finished fourth in the 50 free, and Grant Borregard took fifth in the 500 free.

Utica Ford II’s Jack Dischler took second in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free.

Rochester High’s Jacob Carl placed third in the 500 free.

Warren Cousino’s Jacob Johnson took ninth in the diving competition.

Division 2
Dexter High won the D-2 title, finishing first with 320 points. Close behind was Birmingham Groves in second place with 298.5 points and Birmingham Seaholm in third with 254.

Bloomfield Hills Andover coach David Zulkiewski called the D-2 meet “competitive and fast.”

“The relays were very fast this year, and a team’s ability to score all three relays was critical in overall team placement. We were lucky enough to score all three.”

One of the smallest schools in D-2, Andover, ended up in 10th place out of more than 30 teams. Joining them in the top 10 locally were North Farmington (seventh place, 110 points), Grosse Pointe South (eighth, 101) and Grosse Pointe North (ninth, 96 points). Also scoring points locally was Warren De La Salle (22nd, 16), Fraser High (25th, 15), Auburn Hills Avondale (28th, 12), Walled Lake Northern (29th, 11) and Rochester Adams (33rd, 2).

Groves won a pair of relays and finished second in a third. Steven Curry, Noah Zamler, Tom Power and Scott Crosthwaite teamed up to take the title in the 400 freestyle relay. Zamler joined Clark Lindsay, Sam Cusimano and John Hamond to finish first in the 200 medley relay. Crosthwaite, Curry, Hammond and Power finished second in the 200 freestyle relay.

Crosthwaite added a pair of individual titles, finishing first in the 200 and 500 freestyles. Zamler placed second in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 backstroke. Curry was third in the 200 free and fifth in the 100 free. Clark Lindsay finished second in the 100 breaststroke. John Hammond was sixth in the 100 butterfly. Tom Power placed fifth in the 100 backstroke and 10th in the 100 free. Donald DeSantis finished seventh in the 100 backstroke.

Seaholm’s three relay teams all finished in the top five. The 200 freestyle relay squad of Nathan Anderson, Addison Williams, Jack Howard and Mike Shaben took third. Connor Saeli, Matthew Wolkhammer, Jack Russell and Shaben finished fourth in the 200 medley relay. Anderson, Williams, Saeli and Howard joined up in the 400 freestyle relay and finished fourth.

Wolkhammer also took first in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 200 IM. Alec Girdler took fourth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free. Howard was sixth in the 100 breaststroke and eighth in the 200 IM. Russell placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke. Shaben finished tied for sixth in the 50 free. Anderson was eighth in the 50 free. Saeli placed 10th in the 100 backstroke.

North Farmington’s 200 and 400 freestyle relay squads finished fifth. The 200 squad was Calvin Kopitz, Nick Leshok, Ethan Gell and Jake Wasko. The 400 team was made up of Kopitz, Wasko, Brody Clarke and Leshok. Leshok also took third in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 free. Kopitz placed ninth in the 50 free.

Grosse Pointe South’s 200 medley relay team of Patrick Jackson, Luke Hessburg, Devlin Francis and Nicholas Yoo placed sixth. Hessburg also took third in the 100 breaststroke and ninth in the 200 IM. Nicholas Yoo placed ninth in the 100 butterfly, and Jackson placed first in the 100 butterfly and ninth in the 100 backstroke.

Grosse Pointe North’s 200 medley relay team of Matthew Leone, Christian Mellos, Justin Rakowicz and Peter Shea placed seventh. Mellos also took fourth in the 100 breaststroke and sixth in the 200 IM. Justin Rakowicz placed fifth in the 500 free and 10th in the 200 free. James McNelis finished fourth in diving.

Andover’s 400 freestyle relay team of Vic Sun, Joe Abrash, Zack Prebay and Eliot VanValkenburg took sixth. The 200 freestyle relay squad of Sun, Abrash, VanValkenburg and Jeffrey Lin placed seventh. Abrash also tied for sixth in the 50 free, and Ivan Spizizen finished eighth in diving.

Fraser High’s Jason Butler placed seventh in diving.

Avondale’s Thomas Nowinski finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jon Malavolti at jmalavolti@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040. Twitter Follow Jon on Twitter.