One day Riley Petit will look back at her sophomore year of high school and smile when she considers her accomplishments.
Petit is on a path far different from what most high school student-athletes experience. Petit is a sophomore at Algonac High School, but the Muskrats don’t have a swim program. So Petit has been competing up a division on the Anchor Bay High School swim team.
Joining forces with an opposing team has brought an interesting dynamic to her life as a high school student. But Petit appears to be handling the change well.
“I was nervous at first and not sure if I would be accepted,” Petit recall. “But I thought it was quite interesting that I wasn’t an outcast. Everyone accepted me and welcomed me with open arms.
“Originally it was going to be two girls from Algonac on the team, but she had some injuries and stopped swimming. I was nervous being the only swimmer but everything has been great.”
On the way up
Not only has Petit fit in, she has also stood out. She has improved throughout the season in her individual events and qualified for the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association meet on Saturday in the medley relay.
“She has been great,” Anchor Bay coach Kevin Ott said. “She is just a part of the team. We don’t even consider her to be from another school. She comes from a small school but she has a big appetite for success.
“With her work ethic, she belongs in Division 1 meets. I think she is just scratching the surface of what she can be. She is within striking distance for the state cut and in the next two years if she just keeps working hard she can become much more seasoned. There are no guarantees in swimming, but she has a chance.”
Petit normally swims the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM and 500 freestyle, but the medley relay is where she has enjoyed her best results. With Petit on the relay team, Anchor Bay set a new school record, giving Petit a surprise she never really envisioned.
“It’s amazing to think my name will be up there,” she said. “It’s really fun and I’m glad I’m here. It’s good to know I’m good enough to be up there with them.”
The road ahead
Petit is making plenty of progress and yet still has more room for improvement. But the fact that she has found the right fit is a big step forward in the right direction.
After becoming part of the record-breaking medley relay team, Petit is setting even more goals.
“I’d like to break the pool record in the 100 breaststroke and lower my times,” Petit said. “We are going to push each other to get better. It’s fun swimming next to girls that challenge you and make you better.”
While Petit continues to improve in the pool, her mother Stacy Hunt Petit has also seen her daughter maturing.
“I have seen her grow,” Stacy Hunt Petit said. “She was shy and quiet and this year she is opening up more and smiling more. I enjoy watching her. Her teamwork and how she cheers on the other girls.
“I love how they all work together. She is learning and I’m happy she is growing from this.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.