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Grosse Pointe Farms

February 12, 2014

South claims inaugural county title

Blue Devils narrowly defeat Livonia Stevenson for title

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Grosse Pointe South senior Patrick Jackson swims in the 500-yard freestyle race during a dual meet against Chippewa Valley on Feb. 4. At the Wayne County Championship, Jackson won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while also swimming legs on the winning 200-yard medley relay and second place 400 freestyle relay.

GROSSE POINTE — When the seedings came out for the inaugural Wayne County Championships, Grosse Pointe South’s swim team, the host team, appeared to be approximately 100-point underdogs to Livonia Stevenson, one of the top-ranked schools in Michigan for Division 1.

South would need a lift from every swimmer in the pool that day to defeat Stevenson, and that’s exactly what it got, as the Blue Devils collected 418 points to win by three against Stevenson Feb. 1.

South swimmers posted either season-best or lifetime-best times in every event at the meet to win counties and also qualify in several events for the state meet.

“You can’t hope for really anything better than what we had, in terms of everybody going season-best. A lot of those were lifetime- bests. That was more from some of our younger guys,” South coach Eric Gunderson said.

Arguably the best event for South was the 100 backstroke, as senior Patrick Jackson took first, sophomore Jacob Montague took second and sophomore Doug Graham finished fifth. All three swimmers had state meet qualifying times.

Jackson also took first in the 100 butterfly in a state meet qualifying time of 52.65 seconds.

The relays were also a strong point for South.

Jackson and Montague joined junior Devlin Francis and senior Nick Yoo on the first-place 200-yard medley relay team that finished in 1 minute, 38.08.

Francis, Montague, Jackson and Jack Martin teamed up for a second-place finish in the 400 relay with a time of 3:17.28.

“Our medley and our 400 relay were the ones we were going for, and those were the ones that were both season-best times. The medley relay … that was the fastest time our team has gone in our pool. That’s a state-meet caliber medley, and we’re not even at the state meet yet, so that is falling into nice shape,” Gunderson said.

Montague took second in the 200 individual medley in 1:58.42, good for state qualification.

Martin, a senior, earned the opportunity to finish his career at the state finals in an individual race, as well, as he took second in the 50 freestyle in a time of 22.7 seconds.

“We’re still training hard, and not quite at the point where they’re fully resting to get a nice taper in and swim their fastest time,” Gunderson said. “They’re set to continue dropping, and we’re looking for some good swims, and hopefully, some more season-bests and a couple of new state cuts.”

Senior Eric Addy won the diving competition by a tenth of a point, as his dives totaled 398.90 points.

South will continue its march to the state finals when it hosts the MAC Red conference meet on Feb. 23. South is looking for its 15th consecutive league meet title.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.