Mollie Pulte, Birmingham Marian, took home first place honors in the 200-yard Freestyle during the Oakland County Girls Swimming Championship at Lake Orion High School Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Swimming - Girls
GIRLS SWIMMING: Mollie Pulte sets four county records at the Oakland County swim meet WITH TOUT VIDEOS
EDITORS NOTE: For additional videos from this meet scroll to the bottom of this story to watch a feature in our MIPrepZone Weekly show as well as Tout videos from this event.
LAKE ORION — Mollie Pulte of Birmingham Marian already has an individual state title in the Division 2 200-yard freestyle, but that doesn’t mean the junior is satisfied.
On Saturday afternoon Pulte showed that she’s still putting in plenty of work in the pool when she set four county records at the Oakland County swim meet.
Among Pulte’s records were the 200 freestyle (1:49.56), the 100 freestyle (50.23). Pulte also anchored Marian’s 200 medley relay (1:47.23) and 200 free relay (1:36.22) teams which also broke county marks.
“Our team started out the first relay and we won that and it just kept rolling,” Pulte said. “The people on our team kept dropping more time.”
Pulte’s final race of the day was the 200 free relay where she turned in a 50-yard split of 22.96 that would have broke a county record that has stood since 1994.
“That was my last race and I just gave it my all,” she said. “I was so excited having mercy next to us and really close. It gets me excited more than nervous.”
Pulte wasn’t the only swimmer in the pool who had won a state title last year. Waterford junior Maddie Wright won the division 1 state title last year, but had only swam the race once this season, and was swimming from heat four of five.
“I was actually looking forward to racing (Wright) when I found out she was going to be in the heat before me,” Pulte said.
Wright went out and broke her own county record in the event with a 1:49.58, giving Pulte something to aim for. Both swimmers were looking to break 1:50, and both were happy that they made their goal.
Marian head coach William Thompson wondered how quick the pair of talented swimmers could have gone if they were racing head-to-head, considering third place was a full three seconds slower than Wright.
“I would have loved to have them together because I think they both would have gone faster, and that’s the way you want to do it,” Thompson said. “I think it helps that Maddie was in the previous heat. I’m sure that lit a little bit of fire, but Mollie wanted to go under 1:50 and she did it.”
Both Wright and Pulte downplayed any potential rivalry that might develop between the two state title holders.
“Me and Mollie are really good friends,” Wright said. “I was really excited for her when she went that. I’m just looking forward to states now because states are going to be even better.”
“Even if (Wright) beat me, I would have been so happy with my time,” Pulte said. “It’s not about that. She’s a great girl. It was just awesome.”
Pulte said that her team is very important to her success. More than once she mentioned how she feeds off the energy of her teammates. The Mustangs were happy to come away with a third place finish on Saturday, a meet they place extra importance on, as they try to qualify more swimmers for the state meet.
“All the public schools around us are very big and have depth,” Pulte said. “Ours is small, but we’re dynamite when we’re on. It’s awesome because some of these teams are triple our size. For us to be a small team and for us to be up there is insane. For us it’s awesome because we know everyone, so it’s a personal thing, but we’re all friends and it’s really fun.”
Thompson says Pulte has the talent to go as far as she wants, but everything will depend on the work she puts in.
“If she’s going to come in with even higher expectations, then she’s going to get a lot better,” Thompson said.
Pulte seems determined to put in the work to make the most of her talent.
“(I want to) Improve my times from here,” Pulte said. “This meet was a really big deal for me. I'm really proud of myself because I beat all my times from last year. I hope I can go even faster, and with my team behind me I know I can.”