BRIGHTON — Out with the old, in with the new. Some at Brighton High School — and especially those on the Bulldogs swimming team — might say, “Finally.” After 40 years of competing in one pool, the Bulldogs finally got to unveil their new state-of-the-art facility.
“Everything was great tonight,” Brighton girls coach Jason Black said.
It was perhaps the team’s most exhilarating night of the season, even topping the night it edged out Northville earlier in the month to close down the old Brighton pool, which had been in existence since 1975, when many of the current swimmers’ parents attended the school.
The band and cheerleaders came out for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the school’s first-ever state title winner, Morgan Zebley, returned and delivered a few words before the competition got started, and while some might have called the celebration over-the-top, Taylor Seaman just had one word for it: “Perfect.”
“Oh my gosh, it was so exciting,” said Seaman, the Bulldogs’ only other state champion, who emerged for an interview from the team’s new post-race dining room. “Everything was perfect.”
Of course, it wasn’t solely because the Bulldogs, at long last, got to race in their new pool.
But by the night’s end, Brighton (4-0 overall, 3-0 KLAA West) had handed Grand Blanc (5-1 overall, 1-1 KLAA West) its first dual meet loss of the season, 111-75, while in the process establishing 10 new-pool records and moving closer to a KLAA West championship.
Seaman owns four of those pool records having won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles with times of 52.37 and 1:56.45, respectively, while also being part of Brighton’s winning 200- and 400 freestyle relay teams.
McKenna Resconich also owns four, competing in the same relays as Seaman and also securing wins in the individual medley (2:14.33) and breaststroke (1:09.87). Senior captain Lilia Staszel earned herself three with victories in the butterfly (1:00.81), 200 free relay and 200 medley relay.
“It was honestly so awesome,” Staszel said of the night. “(Having a pool record) is really cool. It’s really exciting.”
Of course, those who won for Brighton know it’s likely those pool records will be short-lived. Considering the majority of the girls’ seed times were lower than their final times, one can bet it will be them who will soon outdo themselves.
Perhaps that’s why the record board was not yet installed as of Tuesday night — and Black said he had no idea when it might be coming or where on the wall it would be placed. Still, minus the record board, there were plenty of new features the team loved about the pool.
“My favorite part is I love the light that comes in to the pool (through the windows),” said Staszel, who noted the old pool was dim. “It makes it so much brighter here and makes practicing and being here so much more enjoyable.”
“I really like the blocks,” Seaman said. “They’re so nice. They have the handlebars and the track start. The old blocks were, like, still that rough surface, but they were not in good condition at all.”
“Eight lanes,” Black said with a laugh. “Yards, we’re swimming in yards. This is the way you race at state meets. This is what you want.”
All Black truly wanted was for his team to remain focused throughout the night. He said that he figured it might be difficult for his group given the ceremony and excitement, not only throughout the team but throughout the community.
However, the Bulldogs were able to channel their nervous energy into each race, which was apparent by the fact they won 10 of the 12 races against one of the West’s best teams. Grand Blanc was the last remaining undefeated team in the West other than Brighton, and was one of three in all of the KLAA without a loss prior to Tuesday.
“It really reeked up the girls and got them excited,” Black said. “But they maintained it and another great meet against another strong division rival.”
A great meet in what is unquestionably a great new pool. They hope it’s the first of many.