Farmington rallies together before a swim meet.

Farmington rallies together before a swim meet.

Photo provided by Mackenzie Bushey

Farmington swim and dive veterans eye state finals return

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Farmington Press | Published October 23, 2023


FARMINGTON — It doesn’t get much tougher than Oakland County swimming in the state of Michigan.

Both in the Oakland Activities Association and in the Catholic High School League, Farmington is surrounded by top-ranked talent in Farmington Hills Mercy, Birmingham Seaholm, Birmingham Groves, Rochester Adams, and North Farmington.

When Farmington’s young squad of only two senior state finals swimmers shot out the gate last year at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 State Finals and earned 10th out of a field of 22 teams, teams took notice.

Now, Farmington’s junior and senior classes are ready for their turn at the table, and they’ve put on a show so far this year.

Led by senior veterans Mackenzie Bushey and Emme D’Errico, Farmington posted an impressive 4-1 record in OAA Red dual meets this season. According to Swimcloud, Farmington is currently ranked seventh in Division 2 this season.

“We’re hanging in there,” Farmington coach Kyle Kinyon said. “It’s a very competitive league. Oakland County swim is pretty fast, and the Red is no exception to that. You got some really good teams, both Division 1 and Division 2, that are stacked together, which has made for some pretty close meets. It brings out the best of both teams and both sides.”

Bushey and D’Errico, who both competed at the state finals last year, have not only progressed physically as swimmers, but continued to evolve into leaders Farmington needs them to be.

Both best friends and four-year varsity swimmers, D’Errico said their friendship has brought out the best in their leadership.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the both of us,” D’Errico said. “Leading the team has helped me become more confident as an athlete and person. I remember how much of an impact my senior captains had on me in past years, and I’m happy to be doing the same for the younger swimmers.”

Bushey and D’Errico have picked up right where they left off from their state finals performances, where Bushey earned second in the 100-yard breaststroke and teamed up with D’Errico, junior Annika Cho and junior Sydney Visser to earn fifth in the 200-yard medley relay. D’Errico finished eighth in the 100-yard fly at the 2022 state finals.

The 200-yard medley relay team is back and better than ever this year for Farmington, and Oakland County got a nice glimpse of it when Farmington took first in the 200-yard medley relay at the Oakland County Championship at Lake Orion High School Sept. 30.

Bushey, D’Errico, Cho, and Visser teamed up for the relay win, while Bushey earned second in the 100-yard breaststroke and D’Errico earned fifth and sixth in the 100-yard fly and the 200-yard freestyle, respectively, leading Farmington to sixth place at the meet.

Farmington wrapped up conference dual meets in a win over Birmingham Groves Oct. 12 as Farmington swept all three relay events and Bushey and D’Errico turned in another impressive performance.

Bushey turned in first place performances in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke to continue her dominant senior season.

“This year, she’s just been swimming lights out,” Kinyon said. “Senior year, you can go into that and be nervous, like, ‘Oh man, I don’t know what I’ll be able to do.’ This year, she’s just had a weight lifted off her shoulders, and it shows.

D’Errico tallied first place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, while senior Madelyn Kowalski earned first in the 100-yard fly and Visser earned first in the 50-yard freestyle.

While the team has continued to be strong in the pool, Farmington takes pride in being a tight-knit group.

Whether it’s car wash fundraisers, bonfires, beach days or team breakfasts, Farmington’s team chemistry plays a vital role in their success throughout the season.

“Our team has always been close,” Bushey said. “We’ve all loved swimming with each other; it’s like my second family. I wouldn’t be able to get through the hard practices and tough swims without all the girls.”

Farmington will compete next in the OAA Red league meet Nov. 1 at Lake Orion High School before heading to the MHSAA Division 2 State Finals Nov. 17 at the Holland Aquatic Center.

There’s still a long way to go before the end of the season, but the 2024 Farmington senior class will undoubtedly make their impact physically this year, but also mentality-wise for years to come.

“To lead by example has been really great for them, and also being available to be leaned on in any way whether girls need help with the training or balancing the social stuff,” Kinyon said. “That can be really hard, so to lean on that kind of leadership is pretty cool that we have that. They’re all available to the team at any time. I’m thrilled with them. I’m going to miss them next year.”