Farmington Hills Mercy High School girls swimmer Maria Bargardi competes in the 200 IM event, during the Oakland County Women's Swimming and Diving Championship Meet. Photo taken on Saturday, September 2, 2010, at Waterford Mott HS in Waterford, Mich. (The Oakland Press/Jose Juarez)
Swimming - Girls
Five county records broken in Oakland County girls swim meet
Farmington Hills Mercy High School girls swimmer Nikki Barczak competes in the 100 freestyle event, during the Oakland County Women's Swimming and Diving Championship Meet. Photo taken on Saturday, September 2, 2010, at Waterford Mott HS in Waterford, Mich. (The Oakland Press/Jose Juarez)
South Lyon High School girls swimmer Kacie VanBuskirk competes in the 200 freestyle event, during the Oakland County Women's Swimming and Diving Championship Meet. Photo taken on Saturday, September 2, 2010, at Waterford Mott HS in Waterford, Mich. (The Oakland Press/Jose Juarez)
WATERFORD — Each passing swimming season comes with similar expectations. But what no one could expect Saturday at the annual Oakland County girls swim meet, was the furious pace in which records were set. Five county marks fell, four of which were pushed down by powerhouse Farmington Hills Mercy.
As expected, Mercy won the meet, handily, scoring 405 team points, nearly 150 better than the next competitor. The win is the Marlins’ sixth consecutive county meet title.
“It’s one for this team, and that’s all that matters,” Mercy coach Shannon Dunworth said.
“Your whole season points toward the state meet, but this meet is a close second.”
Senior Nikki Barczak won the 100-yard freestyle in a county-record time of 51.54 over noted Bloomfield Hills Andover sprinter Jayme Groth. Barczak also set a new county mark in the 50-freestyle (23.50), while taking part in the two Marlins relays to set a new county record: The 200-freestyle relay (1:37.15) and the 400- freestyle relay (3:34.35).
“I felt good today. I felt comfortable in the water, (but) I didn’t feel abnormal (or) faster than usual,” Barczak said.
Barczak said she’s unsure which events she’ll swim at the Division 2 state meet, which the Marlins have also dominated, winning the past three years.
“I could do sprints, or maybe the 200, maybe even the 500 if I swim it, so this helped me see where I am in terms of sprinting in accordance with everyone else,” Barczak said.
Dunworth credited Barczak’s offseason dedication for her success Saturday.
“It’s what she’s been doing all year,” Dunworth said. “She worked super-hard this summer. She really recommitted and she’s reaping the rewards.”
Birmingham Marian took second (262) Saturday, followed by Birmingham Seaholm (182.5) and Birmingham Groves (167). South Lyon snuck in and took fifth place, with 163 points.
South Lyon’s Kacie VanBuskirk set a new county record in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.10). She also took first in the 500-yard freestyle (5:05.22), more than 4 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Things just haven’t been the same for the Clarkston girls swim program since the Wolves were dropped down from the top to the bottom division of the Oakland Activities Association this year. Saturday was a bit of redemption, as the Wolves, led by freshman Sami Stelpflug, the 200-yard IM winner (2:06.25), took eighth place.
“We’re really excited. We swam really well. This is probably the best we’ve ever swam at the county meet,” Clarkston coach Kenwyn Chock said. “I’ve got four freshmen who came in this year, they’re on that medley relay team that went (1:54.58). That’s pretty sweet,” Chock added of the seventh-place finishers.
The day didn’t begin as expected for last year’s third-place team Novi. After the team bus failed to arrive Saturday morning, first-year coach Eric Lynn reorchestrated the girls’ travel plans. Sophomore Andrea VanderMey repeated her first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke. The Wildcats slipped from 2009, taking seventh place overall, but the experience will help moving forward, Lynn said.
“This will give the girls confidence in themselves,” Lynn said. “I’m still feeling out the waters as a head coach, and every time we have good swims, that gives them a little more faith in me and helps reassure them I know what I’m doing.”
Groves junior Annie Lazor repeated in the breaststroke (1:05.09).
“Annie had some good swims. She’s trying to set herself up well for the state meet,” Groves coach Matt Watson said. “Her breaststroke was great. She’s coming along, but as a team, we have some work to do.”
Marian won the day’s first race, the 200-yard medley relay, in 1:49.77, while the Mustangs’ Jaynie Pulte (58.11) won the 100-yard butterfly. West Bloomfield won Friday’s diving competition.
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