BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Voices sang out from the Clarkston High School natatorium as the girls swim and dive team took a break between laps while preparing for the state championships this Friday and Saturday.
They qualified in 11 events including diving, three relay events and eight individual events.
“It’s exciting to take that many athletes,” said Coach Amber Miller. “It’s a move in the right direction for Clarkston Swimming. Each year we just build a little more – keep building and hopefully not too long from now we are fighting for the state championship.”
Sophomore Abby Line qualified for diving, finishing in ninth place at regionals last Thursday with 312.05 points.
They qualified in the 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.
Senior Ashleigh Allen, junior Caroline Hughes and sophomore Haley VanBuskirk qualified in multiple events throughout the season. They can only compete in two at the state championship and at time of press, the psych sheets weren’t available.
Freshman Alexis Moon qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke event during the Oakland County meet.
“It’s fun,” Miller added about seeing them succeed during the season. “It’s nice to see all the hard work pay off. It’s been rewarding not only for me but for them and for their parents, who run the meets and are in the stands. To see the success come together feels like a blessing.”
Miller has a saying the swimmers followed throughout the season – Give, Live, Be Great.
“It’s our theme we introduced,” she added
Miller explained, for giving, it’s looking within themselves on how will they give to their teammates, give to each other, support each other, swim for each other.
“We say there’s strength and power in doing something for someone else rather than yourself, far surpasses anything you can do if you are just doing it for your own gain,” she added.
For live, how are they going to live what their goals are for each meet and what will they do if things don’t go perfectly.
“Are they going to take advantage of every moment they have to train to achieve their goals? Are they going to remain humble in victory? Or are they going to go against what we have talked about and worked for this season,” Miller said.
How they choose to be great extends past what they do while in the pool, but also what they do during a meet for their team, parents, and community.
“Being great does not come by simply doing what’s required, it’s going above and beyond,” Miller said, adding they listen to motivation speeches. “It’s a long season. These girls practice nine times a week, plus meets and competitions are three days and all day. It’s a different beast. It’s keeping them inspired through that last push.”
Many will continue to swim with their club team after the school season finishes, but the Wolves said goodbye to 10 seniors as they honored them in October.
“It’s hard to see them go,” Miller said. “It’s nice to see Ashleigh close her senior year with the Wayne State University announcement – knowing she is committed to them and see dreams continue. I feel happy for her and her family’s accomplishment.”
The MHSAA Division 1 Girls Swim and Dive State Championship is at Oakland University. The ticket office and doors open at 9:30 a.m. The swim preliminaries and finals start at 12 p.m. Tickets are $10 each.