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BOYS SWIMMING: Dexter tops the SEC White for 15th straight year

The Dexter Dreadnaughts boys swim and dive won the Southeastern Conference division championship Saturday at a repeat of last year’s meet at the Chelsea pool.

With over 50 points to spare over the host team Chelsea Bulldogs, Dexter took its 15th consecutive SEC title home with 446 points.

Chelsea pulled out an impressive 387 points, taking second place. In third place was Adrian (204), followed by Tecumseh (182), Ypsilanti (95) and Lincoln (81).

The preliminary events on Saturday were highlighted by the addition of two state qualifiers for the Dexter team that will compete in March with freshman David Merz (200 yard freestyle) and junior Andrew Watson, who pulled off four individual qualifiers himself with the 200 yard freestyle, the 100 yard backstroke as well as the 50 yard and 100 yard freestyles with his lead off swims in the relays.

In addition, the Dreadnaughts repeated putting their mark on the Chelsea pool record board by breaking a pool record set by their relay in 2012, first on the preliminary day (3:16.01) and again with a faster time in the finals (3:14.92).

Jonathan Zofchak took down his own Chelsea pool record for the 200 yard freestyle that he set in 2012 with his victory swim in finals of 1:44.43.

Prior to the meet’s second day of events, senior Max Merriman was awarded the Sportsmanship Award, nominated for each team by participating coaches.

Swimmers and divers in the conference competed in preliminary events on Friday, with the top 18 finishers in each event returning to compete on Saturday. The top 6 swimmers and relays line up for the championship heat, the next 12 swim and score in a consolation heat, followed by a bonus heat.

The Dreadnaughts swam strong in the preliminary meet and went into the championship day events seeded first in eleven out of twelve events, yielding the top spot in the 100 yard breaststroke to Chelsea’s Tom Olsen.

In the first event, the 200 yard medley relay, Dexter’s foursome of Rob Zofchak, Ryan Stanton, Andrew Pek and Paul Ruble scrambled into third place behind Chelsea and Adrian in the championship heat.

Dexter’s squad of Matt Bergdolt, Collin Taylor, Michael Garcia and Max Merriman finished in eighth place in the consolation heat.

Jonathan Zofchak then righted the Dexter ship with his pool record first place swim in the 200 yard freestyle championship event with a time of 1:44.43.

Zofchak was joined by teammates Watson, Merz and Jim Morgan for a dominating first through fourth place finish, with each earning new state qualifying times for the Dreads.

In the 200 yard individual medley, Chelsea junior David Alday was the champion, setting a new pool record of his own, 1:57.44, with Dexter’s Rob Zofchak in second (2:00.32) and Garcia in fifth (2:07.93).

Dexter marched out three in the championship heat of the 50 yard freestyle sprint with only hundredths of seconds making the difference.

Earning All-SEC honors, Maisch touched first (22.35) over Adrian’s Khayman Jones (22.49) and Chelsea’s Nick Deppner (22.63). Tecumseh’s Isaac Bhathena was fourth (22.72) before Dexter’s Ruble (23.01) and Merriman (23.19) finished in fifth and sixth.

In the diving event, Chelsea's Jake Burris took first. Lincoln's Sam Edwards was not far behind, with Dexter's Jake Kilian third.

Dexter showed its depth again in the 100-yard butterfly scoring each of their four athletes entered in the event. Watson is the 2013 butterfly champion, having first set a new SEC record on Friday in the preliminary events (54.14). He was joined by Pek (54.85) who was secnd and Garcia (56.75).

In the 100 yard freestyle, Chelsea’s Alday was first, with Maisch taking second and Ruble third in the championship heat.

Swimming the 500 yard freestyle, Zofchak again powered on top of the championship heat with a time of 4:56.31. Joining him to give the Dreads another 1-2-3 finish, securing All-SEC honors was Merriman in second and Morgan in third.

The Bulldogs also put up an impressive fifth place with Ben Thoms in the championship heat. They followed up with the consolation heat including Austin Horn (seventh), Drew Deppner (ninth), Zach Ousley (11th) and Aidan Carry (12th).

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Dreads Maisch, Ruble Merriman and Jonathan Zofchak powered in for first place (1:29.21) followed by Chelsea’s Max Lonnemo, Jonny Mangner, Carter Engler and Will Wickens (1:33.62) in the championship heat.

The competition stepped up in the 100-yard backstroke, with Adrian’s Ian Moran (54.09) repeating his first place finish from the 2012 SEC championship meet.

Chelsea’s Almhiemid (54.20) grabbed second followed by Dexter’s Rob Zofchak (54.38) in third for the SEC honors. Nick Deppner (55.58) was fourth, with Jacob Hartman (56.92) fifth and Pek (57.23) in sixth.

In the 100 -yard breaststroke event, Tecumseh’s Ian Russell took his turn at the top with a first place time of 1:03.99 over Chelsea’s Olsen (1:04.29) in second and Dexter’s Stanton (1:04.66) in third for the SEC honors.

In the final event of the SEC championship title, Dexter’s 400-yard freestyle relay of Watson, Maisch, Rob Zofchak and Jonathan Zofchak validated their Friday pool record with an even faster swim for the first place championship with a time of 3:14.92 and an exciting come from behind victory over Chelsea’s Alday, Almhiemid, Nick Burris and Nick Deppner. Dexter’s foursome of Merz, Garcia, Morgan and Pek came in seventh with Chelsea’s Logan Simpson, Thoms, Hartman and Lonnemo grabbing sixth.

Continuing on in the postseason, Chelsea is currently ranked eighth in Division 3. The Bulldogs’ state qualifiers are off to compete at the D-3 state meet at Eastern Michigan University starting on March 8.

The Dreadnaughts, the Division 2 defending state champions, are currently ranked fourth behind Birmingham Seaholm, Holland and Ann Arbor Pioneer.

The Dreads will travel to Oakland University for their state meet on March 8.

Last Updated: 2/25/2013 2:22:55 PM EST

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