Adams coach reflects on historic season in the pool

By: Timothy Pontzer | Rochester Post | Published March 27, 2018

 Rochester Adams senior Jorge Roman Lopez swims in the 100-yard breaststroke during the Division 2 state finals March 10 at Oakland University. Lopez also qualified for the 200 IM at the state meet.

Rochester Adams senior Jorge Roman Lopez swims in the 100-yard breaststroke during the Division 2 state finals March 10 at Oakland University. Lopez also qualified for the 200 IM at the state meet.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Before the season began, Tim Hickey admitted that he didn’t foresee the success his group enjoyed in 2018.

In his 25th year at the helm of the Rochester Adams swimming program, Hickey started seeing the squad’s potential as the year wore on.

“I knew we had some strong seniors and a couple very good underclassmen. But after each meet, it looked like we could be a little better throughout the year,” Hickey said. “It obviously culminated in a really strong finish, and I’m quite proud of the boys.”

The Highlanders put together a historic season that included an undefeated run through the dual meet schedule and an Oakland Activities Association Red Division championship.

“We just brought it every single meet. It was our first undefeated dual meet finish in close to 20 years,” Hickey explained. “That included wins over (Warren) De La Salle, (Birmingham) Groves and (Birmingham) Seaholm, which were some of the top teams around. Winning the Red was special because it was the first time ever for that. It got us our first league title since 2014, when we won the (OAA) White.”

Adams sent 10 representatives to the Division 2 state meet March 9-10 at Oakland University. The club posted a team-total 220 points to finish second overall, finishing 21.5 points behind Dexter High. It matched the program’s best finish, a runner-up spot in 2002.

“We’ve never won the state meet, so to be close like that is always special,” Hickey said. “It wasn’t our largest team at states, but 10 is a really good number.”

Senior Graham Miotke qualified in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free. Senior Jorge Roman Lopez raced in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Senior Thomas Trueax participated in the 200 free and 500 free.

Hickey pointed to that trio of seniors as a key leadership group.

“Those guys really led the way. All three were four-time All-State swimmers,” Hickey remarked. “They were just the epitome of strong athletes. They were always giving 100 percent at practice and never complaining about the hard work. They kept their goals in mind and chased them, doing whatever it took to get there. That really rubbed off on the other kids.”

The team was rounded out by senior Jeremy Wang (100 backstroke), senior Simon Baumgartner (200 free, 500 free), junior Jake Hart (50 free, 100 free), junior Hansen Qian (50 free, 100 breaststroke), junior Quan Lee (200 IM, 100 butterfly), sophomore Connor Nguyen (200 IM, 100 backstroke) and freshman Soodong Kim in diving.

Miotke, Quian, Lee and Hart also raced in the 200 medley relay; Miotke, Lee, Trueax and Lopez teamed up for the 400 freestyle relay; and Hart, Qian, Lopez and Trueax were in the 200 freestyle relay.

“I want to give a special shoutout to our diver,” Hickey said of Kim. “He’s only a freshman, but he was a great factor for us. He was the county meet champion, the league meet champion, and he took third place at states. He really added a lot of points for us.”

While half the state squad will graduate this spring, Hickey believes they left behind a strong legacy.

“This was a wonderful group of seniors,” Hickey said. “We know that we’re definitely going to be rebuilding the next couple years. We won’t be able to replace this group of seniors in one year. It will be tough to match the success of this year, but they showed what it takes.”

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