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 Members of the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 400-yard freestyle relay team get ready to take to the water Oct. 5 at the Macomb County swim and dive championships. Macomb Dakota won the title.

Members of the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 400-yard freestyle relay team get ready to take to the water Oct. 5 at the Macomb County swim and dive championships. Macomb Dakota won the title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Macomb girls swim, dive teams battle for county bragging rights

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published October 11, 2019

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Dakota edged out Utica Eisenhower 419-406 to win the 2019 Macomb County girls swim and dive championships, contested Oct. 3-5 at Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The Eagles had won five straight county championships.

Dakota coach David Smith said he established goals with the team prior to the start of the season. Winning the Macomb County meet was one of those goals.

“I congratulated the girls for their accomplishments in meeting one of their goals,” Smith said. “I told them how proud I am for their performances. Most importantly, I was proud of how they came together as a team to accomplish their goal.

“We have some outstanding individual swimmers and divers on our team. However, I knew that it was going to take everyone contributing to make this happen. It takes a village. This includes swimmers, divers, parents and coaches.”

The Cougars won five of 12 events to get past Eisenhower. Dakota had top-three finishes in six other events. Eisenhower took first in three events. St. Clair Shores Lakeview won county titles in two events. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley and L’Anse Creuse North each took first in one event.

Dakota got started on a good foot with a win in the 200-yard medley relay by the team of McKenna Goike, Sydney Brandt, Makayla Happell and Genevieve Siev, with a time of 1 minute, 51.69 seconds. The Cougars’ Julianna Witt took home the county title in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.39.

Happell, who was named Senior Swimmer of the Meet, got Dakota its third win in the 50 free with a time of 25.09 seconds. Brandt set a county record in her win in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.91. The Cougars’ final win came in the 400 free relay, as the team of Witt, Brandt, Happell and Megan Marasigan set a new county record with a time of 3:38.85.

“The county meet plays a big role in the success of our team,” Smith said. “Every year, our goal is to see how fast we can swim. The county meet provides that opportunity in the middle of our season. It’s a nice meet to see how we stack up against the rest of Macomb County. It pushes our team to be at our best.”

Eisenhower’s Mikaela Senkus won the diving title with a score of 330.45 points. The Eagles’ Amelia Plonis won the 500 free with a time of 5:14.44, edging out Dakota’s Witt (5:14.60). Eisenhower’s Claire Lippert won the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.55 seconds.

Lakeview’s Elly Belmore set a new county record in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:07.37. Belmore also took first in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.18 seconds. It’s the second year in a row that Belmore established a new county record in the 200 individual medley. The Huskies swimmer also won the 100 breaststroke last year.

“I was hoping to (win the 200 IM) this year. I was really happy when I finished,” said Belmore. “Last year I was really shocked when I won.

“I just try to push myself a lot in races and in practice. Having coaches who support me helps too. I really just like racing. I love swimming.”

Chippewa Valley’s Alexandra Pannemann won the 100 free (54.39), edging out L’Anse Creuse North’s Lauren Paris (54.56).

The L’Anse Creuse North 200 free relay team (Paris, Brianna Lowe, Sara Baur and Hannah Gurecki) won the event with a time of 1:41.22.

Next up are the diving regionals and the swim and dive state finals. Diving regionals take place Nov. 14 at various sites. The state finals are set for Nov. 22-23. Division 1 takes place at the Holland Aquatic Center. D-2 and D-3 are set for Oakland University.

Belmore is one of many swimmers who competed in the county meet who will battle at the state finals. Her goals going into the finals are clear.

“I’m hoping I make All-State in two events and maybe make the top three in the 200 IM,” Belmore said. “That’d be really nice. I want to make All-State all four years of high school.”

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Into the water
Following are the team scores from the Macomb County girls swim and dive championships. Macomb Dakota won the county championship, taking the title from Utica Eisenhower, which had won five county titles in a row.

1. Macomb Dakota — 419 points
2. Utica Eisenhower — 406
3. Macomb L’Anse Creuse North — 311
4. New Baltimore Anchor Bay — 236
5. Clinton Township Chippewa Valley — 144
6. St. Clair Shores Lakeview — 128
7. Utica High — 126
8. Warren Mott — 108
9. Romeo High — 86
10. Fraser High — 76
11. Warren Regina — 67
12. Utica Ford II — 58
13. Sterling Heights Stevenson — 38
14. Warren Woods Tower — 26
15. Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse — 24
16. Center Line High — 21
17. St. Clair Shores South Lake — 12
18. Roseville High — 8
19. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore— 4