By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston Girls Swim and Dive head to Rochester this Thursday to see if they can remain undefeated in the OAA Blue division.
“There were league champions last year,” said Amber Miller, head coach for the Wolves. “You get over one hurdle and get ready for the next. Just keep trucking along.”
The Wolves most recent win in the league was over West Bloomfield at home on Thursday, Sept. 22, 109-77.
“They have some studs on their team and we knew that was going to be a challenge going into it,” Miller said. “We prepared for it – asked them to dig deep mentally and they did. Coming out with a victory is nice.”
Some athletes were getting over illnesses going into the meet.
“Coming into the meet we had some people who had to take a deep breath and overcome all the obstacles that were standing in their way,” Miller said. “I asked them to focus on tonight, the rest will come tomorrow. I couldn’t be prouder of my team they did exactly that. They came up and everyone we asked to performed and did a fantastic job.”
During the night, Rylee Harris qualified for the Oakland County Meet in the 100-yard freestyle. Jordyn Coin, Ava Dowd and Samantha Carpenter qualified in diving.
“They are doing fantastic on the board,” Miller said. “Ava representing well. Really couldn’t ask for more from the dive team.”
Scoring points for the team in individual events were: in 50-yard freestyle, Lilly Kurmaniak in second place in the time of 26.53; Caitlin McGivern, third, 28.63; Calida Brown, fourth, 28.88; 100-yard butterfly, Ella Johnson, second, 1:07.15; Katie Haar, third, 1:08.86; Allison Danatzko, fourth, 1:13.95; 100-yard freestyle, Rylee Harris, second, 54.79; Lilly Kurmaniak, fourth, 59.85; Elaina Kurmaniak, fifth, 1:03.09; 100-yard backstroke, Bayla Zarzycki, first, 1:10.03; Avery Wood, fourth, 1:15.09; Elaina Kurmaniak, 1:15.22; 100-yard breaststroke, Olivia Zeiman, second, 1:21.44; Lucienne Lemieux, third, 1:26.02; Madison Kauth, fourth, 1:26.96; 200-yard freestyle, Harris, first, 2:01.29; Marion Walters, fourth, 2:17.99; Paige Szerlong, fifth, 2:18.47; 200-yard IM, Johnson, first, 2:33.75; Haar, third, 2:35.21; Zarzycki, fourth, 2:40.17; 500-yard freestyle, Walters, second, 6:11.06; McGivern, third, 6:14.29 and Szerlong, fourth, 6:17.70.
“Bayla sneaking in the win at the end of the 100-yard back was fantastic,” said Miller. “We didn’t expect that one. She rose up, came in and got it right at the end.”
She added Harris finished second in in the 100-yard freestyle against a good West Bloomfield swimmer.
“We knew their freshman went 54 seconds and we knew she was going to be fast,” Miller said. “So to have Rylee right there with her the whole time and giving her a great race.
“I always tell the girls you will do more for another person or a team then you do yourself when you have a shared belief and a shared vision you can rise above your own personal obstacles and that’s what they did today. It’s fun to watch.”
For the 1-meter diving event, Jordyn Coin in first place with score of 218 points. Ava Dowd finished in third place with 165.10 points and Samantha Carpenter in fourth place, 162.60.
For the relay events, in the 200-yard medley relay, the team of Harris, Zeiman, Johnson and Lilly Kurmaniak finished in first place in the time of 2:00.37. The team of Zarzycki, Walters, Haar and Brown finished in third place, 2:11.23.
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team of Kauth, Brown, Harris and Lilly Kurmaniak finished in first place in the time of 1:49.72. The team of Wood, Zieman, Szerlong and McGivern finished in third place, 1:59.97.
“The 200 freestyle relay surprised us,” said Miller. “We expected to struggle a little bit more with that one and we came out big on that one going 1-2. Those were great races that fired us up and got us going.”
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of Walters, Szerlong, McGivern and Elaina Kurmaniak finished in second place in the time of 4:21.14. The team of Johnson, Zarzycki, Danatzko and Lemieux finished in third place, 4:28.25.
The team of Wood, Estella Emerson, Allison Brakke and Haar did not score points but did beat West Bloomfield’s second relay team by .02 seconds for the time of 4:34.58.
“Katie coming in at the end, I thought there is no way,” Miller said. “She just fought for it. You love seeing that. You love seeing the heart and the dedication.
“When it’s a good race, no matter what it’s for,” Miller added. “A good race is always fun to watch and when the crowd gets behind it, you’ve got athletes cheering their teammates on and the stands are going, you feel that vibration off the walls. It’s the thing that gives swim coaches goosebumps. It’s exciting no matter what is on the line.”
The Wolves head to Rochester on Thursday and Troy Athens on October 13. Both meets start at 6 p.m.