Huron Swimming: River Rats rack up the highlights at SEC Red Division Championships

By Margaret Baker

Fans were treated to an amazingly fast and thrilling SEC Red Swim/Dive Championship meet on Friday and Saturday at Pioneer, and the Huron River Rats, ably coached by Andrea Stanczyk, Jennifer Zakrajsek, Vicki Kimball, and Dick Kimball, rose to the occasion to end their regular season with aplomb. 

Final scores were as follows:  Saline (586), Pioneer (570), Skyline (354), Huron (346), Temperance-Bedford (183), and Monroe (123).  

The meet began with the annual presentation of the SEC Sportsmanship Award, chosen by each team’s coaches and given to one athlete who best exhibits sportsmanship from each team.  Senior/Captain Faith Baker received the award for Huron.

Congratulations are in order for the Rats’ top 16 finishers, beginning with the 200 Medley “A” squad (Juniors Emily Tran and Annaliese Streeter, senior/captain Anna Leone, and sophomore Zannah Baker), touching in 4th (1:50.30), with their state cut, and “B” (junior Clara Bowman, sophomores Ayaka Sakamoto and Felicia Sang, and freshman Catherine Li) in 12th (2:01.14), and in the 200 Free, sophomore  Kathryn Hemmila (1:59.13) in 8th, Ezgi Poyraz (2:05.19) in 13th and sophomore Lydia Hargett, who shaved 8 seconds from her pre-meet seed time to end in 14th (2:05.70).

Annaliese Streeter was 4th in the 200 IM (2:11.08) with Sang (2:25.39) in 13th, and Sakamoto (2:30.86) in 16th, and Z. Baker, having picked up her state cut in prelims, finished in 4th (24.59), just behind Skyline’s Claire Kozma (24.55) in the 50 free, with C. Li (26.31) in 15th.

In the 100 Fly, Tran took 6th (59.66), Leone (1:02.82), 11th, and Bowman (1:06.59), 14th, and in the 100 Free, Z. Baker (54.06), picked up another state cut and was 4th, with C. Li (57.97)  13th, and Sang (59.40) 16th. In the 500 free distance event, time dropped by the three Rat finishers was astounding.  Hemmila, 10th, in 5:23.36, 11 seconds faster than pre-SEC’s, Hargett, 12th (5:36.29), 17 seconds(!) faster, and Poyraz, 13th (5:36.30), 8 seconds off that pre-meet seed time.

Huron’s speedy 200 Free relay was 2nd (1:40.13), sealing that state appearance for A. Streeter, Tran, Hemmila, and Z. Baker, with the “B”,  (Sakamoto, F. Baker, Poyraz, and Hargett) in 12th (1:52.99), and in the 100 Back, Tran took 6th (1:00.05), with Bowman (1:04.00), 10th, and senior/captain Kristina Holcombe (1:09.40), 16th.

Huron’s highest individual place of the day in swimming went to A. Streeter in the 100 Breast, with her 2nd place finish (1:05.65).  A. Leone took 8th (1:08.50), having already pocketed her state cut in prelims, and Sakamoto was 14th (1:13.35). Finally, Huron’s “A” (Hemmila, C. Li, Sang, and A. Leone) was 4th (3:53.64) in the 400 Free relay, with their “B” (Poyraz, Bowman, Hargett, and junior Ella Szmansky), 12th.

Huron divers rocked the meet, with four finishing top 10:  junior Annie Costello (471.85), way out ahead in 1st, junior Julie Park (343.30), in 5th, senior Sami Ruud (335.35) in 7th, and promising freshman Hannah Margolis (322.25), in 9th.  Sophomore Maggie Thomas (273.05) and senior Anna Boerst (272.40), dived exhibition for the team, and sophomore Sitara Baxendale made her first appearance at the SEC meet finishing the semi-finals with 163.95 points.

Overall the divers had a really great meet, and now Annie, Julie, Sami, Hannah, Maggie, and Anna move forward to compete in the Diving Regionals at Huron this coming Thursday. The competition begins at 5:00 p.m., and the top 12 will advance to the State Meet in Holland the following weekend.

Swimming in consolation heats included, in the 200 Medley relay, Holcombe, senior Elizabeth Li, sophomore Cali Streeter, and Szymansky (2:05.65); in the 200 IM, C. Streeter (19th in 2:30.09), junior Pooja Yalavarthi ( 20th in 2:33:28), junior Amaris Beal (24th in 2:46.48); in the 100 Fly, Holcombe (23rd in 1:10.62); in the 100 Back, Szymansky (19th in 1:07.21), and C. Streeter (23rd in 1:12.45); in the 100 Breast, Yalavarthi (19th in 1:17.05), and F. Baker (21st in 1:18.20); and in the 400 Free Relay, C. Streeter, Holcombe, sophomore Margo Leone, and junior Kiana Hemati (4:20.80).

Other swimmers representing River Rat Nation at the meet included:  freshmen Hannah Burmann, Analiese Heissenbuettel, and Bella Whelan, sophomores Sara Abdul-Hak, Sophia Riegle, and Alli Sutton, junior Sophie Getzen, and senior Emmy Seth.

 Come on out to see the awesome Huron divers at the SEC Regionals this Thursday, Nov. 14th, at the Huron Ratatorium.  Start time is 5 pm.