Miranda Tucker, Waterford, took home first place honors in the 200-yard Individual Medly during the Oakland County Girls Swimming Championship at Lake Orion High School Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (For The Oakland Press/ LARRY McKEE)
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. (For The Oakland Press/ LARRY McKEE)
Natalie Pierce, Detroit Country Day, took home first place honors in the 100-yard Breaststroke during the Oakland County Girls Swimming Championship at Lake Orion High School Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (For The Oakland Press/ LARRY McKEE)
The Farmington Hills Mercy swimming and diving team captured the Oakland County Girls Swimming Championship trophy at Lake Orion High School Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (For The Oakland Press/ LARRY McKEE)
Oakland County has never been lacking in swimming talent.
Spots on the 2013 All-County team were hard to come by, as many of the top performers in Oakland County found themselves owning the top times in multiple events.
This year’s team is smaller than usual, but certainly not lacking in overall power. The few that made the cut are among the best in the country.
Here is a breakdown of this year’s team, event-by-event.
200 Medley Relay
Farmington Hills Mercy
Always known for having strong relay teams, the Marlins produced another of the county’s best this year in the 200 medley relay. The team of seniors Elliott Schinella and Hannah Knoop joined sophomore Ellyse Conn and junior Roxanne Griffore to finish second at the Division 1 finals with an impressive time of 1:45.51. The Marlins came second only to Ann Arbor Skyline, which recorded a time of 1:44.45.
“Relays are always special at Mercy, and no relay is more important than the medley, as it sets the tone for the entire meet,” Mercy coach Shannon Dunworth said. “Elli, Hannah, Ellyse and Roxy see and embrace that opportunity to set the standard for the meet.”
Maddie Wright, Waterford United
Wright is batting 1.000 in her swimming career when it comes to state titles. The junior won her third D1 state title in as many years in the 200 freestyle, clocking in at a time of 1:47.61. Wright was challenged for the top spot this year by Birmingham Marian’s Mollie Pulte, who won the Division 2 title in the event and claimed the Oakland County title over Wright, but Wright managed to post the top time of the season in the finals by nearly a second.
“Having swimmers the caliber of Maddie on the team provided a synergy of real positive energy that lifted every member of the team, helping everyone to perform at a higher level than expected,” Waterford coach Brad Brockway said of Wright.
200 Individual Medley
Miranda Tucker, Waterford United
Tucker really broke onto the scene this year, matching her teammate in Wright by winning a pair of Division 1 individual state titles. Tucker was especially impressive in the 200 individual medley, as she won the finals with a time of 2:00.31, which was nearly three seconds better than the field. Her finals time was tops for anyone in the county by more than four seconds.
“Miranda swimming as well as she did was not totally unexpected,” Brockway said of Tucker. “Miranda has been swimming club for many years. Both Miranda and Maddie competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, so we knew the great potential she had.”
Roxanne Griffore, Farmington Hills Mercy
Griffore claimed an individual state championship as a junior, winning the 50 freestyle sprint this year in Division 1. After winning the county championship with a time of 24.21, Griffore went on to clock a time of 23.57 in the finals to edge Hanna Pfershy of Birmingham Groves for the top time in the county this year.
“Roxy Griffore has always possessed great talent and this last year has seen great improvements in her confidence and commitment to remain focused on the smallest of details,” Dunworth said.
Molly Miller, Farmington Hills Harrison
Miller made big strides over the final month of the season. After taking second in the county championship with a score of 363.70, she improved that score by more than 40 points in the state finals. Miller finished second in the Division 2 finals with a score of 407.45, which was only five points shy of the championship.
“Molly’s senior season was the culmination of four years of incredible hard work, determination and desire to excel,” Harrison diving coach Tom Papp said. “Molly is by far the best female diver I have ever had in my 35 years of coaching.”
Maddie Wright, Waterford United
Wright completed her quest to win three straight titles in two events by winning the 100 butterfly in the Division 1 finals with a time of 53.88. The time was a record-setting performance and was the top time in the county by more than a second.
“Maddie really enjoys competing at the highest levels, and wants to swim against the best,” Brockway said. “She was really happy with her record-setting swim in the butterfly.”
Mollie Pulte, Birmingham Marian
Pulte came up just shy of the top time in 200 freestyle, but she didn’t come up shy in the 100 freestyle. The junior claimed the Division 2 state title this year with a time of 49.87, which was a new Division 2 finals record. The time was the best in the county by nearly 1.5 seconds.
“Mollie was clearly an important part of our championship effort at Marian,” Mustangs coach Bill Thompson said of Pulte. “She has talent and is starting to understand how important purposeful training is in tapping into that talent. Mollie swam well this year because she has raised the bar on her training, discipline and commitment over the last year and a half. She still has plenty of room to improve, which some will take as me saying negative things about Mollie, but in fact, it is really a very positive and exciting thing.”
Kathleen McGee, Farmington Hills Mercy
The Mercy junior found herself earning the top time in the longest event this season, clocking in a time of 5:03.51 at the Division 1 finals, which put her in fourth place. McGee was also able to claim the county championship this year in the event and played a key role on many of the Marlins’ relay teams.
“Kathleen is our most versatile girl, her years of intense training has brought her to the top of her events, yet, I see room for so much more out of Kathleen in her senior year,” Dunworth said of McGee.
200 Freestyle Relay
The race for the top time in the 200 freestyle relay was extremely tight, with Marian and Mercy claiming a state title in their respective divisions. However, the Mustangs edged the Marlins, swimming a time of 1:35.24 in the Division 2 finals, while Mercy came in with a time of 1:35.31 for its D1 championship. Marian also claimed the county championship over Mercy this season. Making the win even more impressive for Marian, it was done without a senior on the team. Juniors Hannah Richard and Mollie Pulte joined sophomore Maren Taylor and freshman Sophia Schott to set a new Division 2 record with their win in the state finals.
“Our 200 freestyle relay team is made up of some special kids,” Thompson said. “They really like being on that relay and at the state meet, they put it together very well. That’s a group that could really be fast next season if they do the work in the offseason. They all have some good talent.”
Chanel Bonin, South Lyon
Bonin brought South Lyon a state championship this year. The senior won the Division 1 title in the 100 backstroke with a time of 54.16, besting the field and the county by nearly 1.5 seconds. Bonin was edged by .01 seconds in the county championship by Alaina Skellett of Farmington Hills Mercy, but she greatly improved over the next month, dropping her time by more than four seconds.
“Chanel was a great swimmer to coach for the past four years. She worked at improving all the time and was always willing to make the small changes necessary to become an elite swimmer,” South Lyon coach John Burch said. “We spent a long time working on under-water kicking and that really helped her in her backstroke this year. Her swim in the backstroke was a surprise to everyone, including her. Chanel believed that she could win the event, but she had no idea that she would swim as fast as she did. She had the perfect race to win.”
Miranda Tucker, Waterford United
Tucker added to her impressive season by winning a second state title, this time in the 100 breaststroke. She won the Division 1 final in a time of 1:02.06, which was better than the field by more than a second. Her time was better than the rest of the county by more than 1.5 seconds, which included another state champion in Natalie Pierce, who claimed the Division 3 title for Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
“Winning two events and her record-setting swim in the 100 breaststroke was really more than I expected,” Brockway said of Tucker. “Both (Tucker and Wright) are really motivated to improve on their state meet swims and help lead their team to an even better season next year.”
400 Freestyle Relay
The 400 freestyle relay was another competitive event within the county, but it was ultimately South Lyon that came out with the top time. South Lyon had a lackluster showing in the county championship, placing fifth with a time of 3:37.82. However, when seniors Chanel Bonin, Stormy Malarik and Deirdre Gerke joined freshman Carolyn Bischoff in the D1 finals, the group swam a time of 3:30.61 to place third and post the top time in the county by 0.7 seconds.
“Our 400 freestyle relay team was the best team that we could put together. All four of the girls worked really hard all season long and were able to all put together their personal best times at the same time on that relay,” Burch said of the unit. “To have all four girls go 52 seconds is a great accomplishment. The reason for their success was the many morning and afternoon practices where they all pushed each other to achieve at the highest levels. We needed all four of the girls pushing each other when they had off days in order to achieve the success that we did as a team and on that relay.”
Coach of the Year
Shannon Dunworth, Farmington Hills Mercy
The Marlins got back to the top of the mountain this season, winning the Division 1 state championship by 20 points over Saline. It was Dunworth’s sixth championship in seven years and was done so with a total team effort, in Dunworth’s usual style.
“Winning any championship is always great, but rarely represents the true greatness of the sport of swimming,” Dunworth said. “The daily challenges met by every swimmer to balance school, sports and life is truly their biggest success and what I admire most about our girls.”
200 Medley Relay: South Lyon
200 Freestyle: Mollie Pulte, Birmingham Marian
200 IM: Maddy Loniewski, Farmington Hills Mercy
50 Freestyle: Hanna Pfershy, Birmingham Groves
Diving: Erica Allor, Farmington Hills Mercy
100 Butterfly: Chanel Bonin, South Lyon
100 Freestyle: Hanna Pfershy, Birmingham Groves
500 Freestyle: Emily Brunett, Farmington Hills Harrison
200 Freestyle Relay: Farmington Hills Mercy
100 Backstroke: Elliott Schinella, Farmington Hills Mercy
100 Breaststroke: Natalie Pierce, Birmingham Detroit Country Day
400 Freestyle Relay: Birmingham Groves
200 Medley Relay: Birmingham Marian
200 Freestyle: Haley Kornburger, Oxford
200 IM: Sami Stelpflug, Clarkston
50 Freestyle: Kathyrn Culver, Clarkston
Diving: Heidi Surdyk, South Lyon
100 Butterfly: Mykala Arnold, Birmingham Seaholm
100 Freestyle: Roxanne Griffore, Farmington Hills Mercy
500 Freestyle: Bethany Abramczyk, Lake Orion
200 Freestyle Relay: South Lyon
100 Backstroke: Ines Charles, Bloomfield Hills
100 Breaststroke: Allie Russell, Birmingham Seaholm
400 Freestyle Relay: Farmington Hills Mercy
200 Medley Relay: Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Birmingham Groves; Waterford United; Rochester Adams; Bloomfield Hills; Birmingham Seaholm; Cranbrook Kingswood.
200 Freestyle: Bethany Abramczyk, Lake Orion; Kathleen McGee, Farmington Hills Mercy; Alysse Fischler, Birmingham Groves; Clare Nienstedt, Birmingham Marian; Kirstyn Abbasse, Lake Orion; Theresa Riviera, Rochester Adams.
200 IM: Nicole Pape, Rochester Adams; Ellyse Conn, Farmington Hills Mercy; Charlotte Lee, Cranbrook Kingswood; Varsha Yerasi, Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
50 Freestyle: Mykala Arnold, Birmingham Seaholm; Maren Taylor, Birmingham Marian; Elliott Schinella, Farmington Hills Mercy; Maggie Pyett, Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Sophia Schott, Birmingham Marian; Stormy Malarik, South Lyon; Carolyn Bischoff, South Lyon; Krystal Karas, Rohester Adams; Lara Kokubo, Cranbrook Kingswood.
Diving: Angela Probstfeld, Lakeland; Autumn Smith, South Lyon; Olivia Wagner, Bloomfield Hills.
100 Butterfly: Haley Kornburger, Lake Orion; Ellyse Conn, Farmington Hills Mercy; Sarah Hennings, Lake Orion; Alaina Skellett, Farmington Hills Mercy; Kelly McGowan, Birmingham Groves; Emily Brunett, Farmington Hills Harrison; Varsha Yerasi, Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Julia Briggs, Cranbrook Kingswood; Anuschka Sambel, Cranbrook Kingswood; Pippa Russell, Cranbrook Kingswood.
100 Freestyle: Maddy Loniewski, Farmington Hills Mercy; Kathryn Culver, Clarkston; Maggie Pyett, Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Lara Kokubo, Cranbrook Kingswood.
500 Freestyle: Alysse Fischer, Birmingham Groves; Megan Stelpflug, Clarkston; Emma Bradley, North Farmington; Anuschka Sambel, Cranbrook Kingswood.
200 Freestyle Relay: Lake Orion; Farmington Hills Harrison; Rochester Adams; Birmingham Detroit Country Day; Cranbrook Kingswood.
100 Backstroke: Alaina Skellett, Farmington Hills Mercy; Kelly McGowan, Birmingham Groves; Hannah Chao, North Farmington.
100 Breaststroke: Nicole Pape, Rochester Adams; Celia Hoag, Birmingham Seaholm; Sami Stelpflug, Clarkston; Lydia Mattarr, Lake Orion; Jessica Avery, Madison Heights Lamphere; Charlotte Lee, Cranbrook Kingswood.
400 Freestyle Relay: Lake Orion; Clarkston; Waterford United; Birmingham Marian; Cranbrook Kingswood; Rochester Adams.