Allie Russell and her Birmingham Seaholm teammates were just going to kick back after Saturday’s Division 2 state swimming finals to mark the end of the season.
“We had planned on just a relaxing night together and movies, because the seniors were all sad that the season was over,” Russell said, “but now we’re very excited.”
Whatever they ultimately decided to do Saturday night, it was likely the sweetest Plan B ever, as the Maples were instead celebrating their first girls’ swimming state championship in 20 seasons.
Seaholm scored 287 1/2 points at Eastern Michigan University’s Jones Natatorium, 37 1/2 more than defending champ and top-ranked Dexter. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (215), Portage Central (153) and Grosse Pointe South (140) filled out the top five.
Seaholm was fifth last year and hadn’t won the girls title since 1997.
“Our freshman year we came in having no clue what we were doing and I think we got eighth. To get a win in our senior year in the same pool we started was really great,” Russell said. “We had the talent, but we just needed to believe in ourselves.”
That faith enabled the Maples to win two relays, and they got another victory from Haley Dolan in the 50 freestyle (23.56).
Russell had a role in three school records, placing second in both the individual medley (2:06.22) and breaststroke (1:03.17) as well as swimming legs on the Maples’ winning medley relay (1:43.98) and 200 free relay (1:35.49).
“I had such an amazing time. Individually I got two seconds which I could never have imagined, and to get the win with my team was my biggest goal for the weekend,” she said. “Our medley relay stepped up. We thought if we could start off the meet with a win, it could really carry us the rest of the way.”
Aided by a 1-3-4-7 finish in diving, Forest Hills Central took the lead midway through the session, until Seaholm grabbed it back two events later when Hannah Erickson (52.89) and Dolan (53.37) finished third and fourth in the 100 free.
“For them to pull this off, I’m the happiest guy in the world,” Seaholm coach Karl Hodgson said. “Across the board, almost everybody at this meet had a personal best.”
Dexter was spurred by two individual wins from Annette Schultz — she took the 200 free (1:48.27) and 100 free (50.30). She also anchored the Dreadnaughts’ winning 400 free relay (3:31.14).
Forest Hills Central’s Felicity Buchmaier was another double winner, leading the field in the butterfly (54.04) and backstroke (55.30). Freshman teammate Anna Hansen was the top diver (428.25 points).
Royal Oak’s Julia Boswell won the 500 free in exciting fashion (5:05.59), out-touching Dexter’s Sarah Zofchak, who was three-tenths of a second behind. Other event winners included Byron Center’s Vicki Postmus (2:05.40/individual medley) and Birmingham Groves’ Charlotte Pierce (1:03.04/breaststroke).
■Division 1: Rockford won its first state girls’ swimming championship, edging Farmington Hills Mercy, 249-239, at Oakland University. Saline (2311/2) and Ann Arbor Skyline (229) were also close behind.
Rockford’s Hunter Ignasiak, Sydney McDowell, Meegan Snyman and Peyton Rayburn set a new Division 1 record in the 200 free relay (1:34.37), beating the 1:35.09 set by Brighton in Friday’s preliminaries. Four other division records were set, by Northville’s medley relay team (1:43.10), Brighton’s Taylor Seaman in the 50 free (22.86), Saline’s Camryn McPherson in diving (509.50 points) and Saline’s 400 free relay team (3:24.44).