The St. Johns girls swimming and diving team has completed it first undefeated season ever in dual meets.
But even though the Redwings edged Okemos by a point on Sept. 19, the Chiefs are probably favored to win the CAAC Blue meet at Holt on Saturday and tie St. Johns for the league title (assuming the Redwings finish second).
Diving prelims will start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, and swimming prelims at 6 on Friday. The top 16 swimmers will advance to fast and slower heats that will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Mason is favored to repeat as CAAC Red champion after finishing undefetaed in duals. Williamston/Lansing Christian, which finished second and gave the Bulldogs their closest dual meet, is expected to be their biggest challenger. Prelims will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, and finals at 1 p.m. on saturday at Mason.
Relays count double points in league meets, which is one of the reasons Okemos has a good chance of earning at least a share of its 13th straight league title.
“We have the top (times in) relays going in, but if you look at the history of our dual meets, we lost the St. Johns meet on the last relay,” Okemos coach Patrick Saucedo said. “Relays are super important. So I’ll put together the best relays I can have, but we have to make sure we show up on Friday and Saturday.”
An Okemos swimmer – seniors Katie Dudley or Grace Kao or freshman Freyja Garbaccio – has compiled the fastest time in every swimming event on the lastest mid-Michigan area honor roll.
“St. Johns has a lot of fsat swimmers so this could very well wind up being a close meet,” Saucedo said. “It’s one of the deepest meets we have had in awhile an certainly since the dawning of the (revised) Blue division. It makes it a lot more fun when everybody swims fast.”
Redwings coach Kim Brewbaker agrees.
“Probably Okemos has an advantage, but you never know,” he said. “Funny things happen in these meets. (The team) always step up when have they good competition. I’m looking forward to it.”
St. Johns certainly stepped up in the dual meet.
“That whole meet was weird,” Brewbaker said. “They were up for it, and I don’t know what Okemos’ minsdset was. We were a little more spirtited that night.”
Mason coach Connie Cantrell expects the CAAC Red meet to be competitive.
“The league meet will be fun to watch,” she said. “Williamston (/Lansing Christian), Owosso are pretty close to us, and the teams should be pretty close in the middle.”
Cantrell says event favorites include Bulldog seniors Hannah Billig in the 100 breaststroke and Kaileigh Krupp in the 500 freestyle, and Owosso sophomore Madelyn Irelan in the 100 butterfly.
Mason junior Abby Johnstone is also favored in the diving competition.
“But depth will definitely help the other teams,” she said. “Eaton Rapids(/Charlotte) and Corunna both have three divers.”
A key event for Mason’s success will be the medley relay.
“Ionia has a pretty tough relay,” Cantrell said. “It will be fairly close, and it’s an event we have yet to get state (qualifying time) cut in.”
The most interesting race will probably be the shortest one – the 50 free.
“Three girls are in the 26s (26-27 seconds), and none of them are seniors,” Cantrell said.