By Margaret Baker
It was a very thankful Huron swimming and diving team that traveled to Saline Thursday evening for their first dual meet of this very strange season. Having only gotten into the pool to train within the last month, the River Rats were hungry to compete. Although they lost to the mighty Hornets, 116-70, Huron took four events – 100 Back, 100 Breast, 200 Free Relay and Diving – earned three state cuts, and unveiled some terrific new talent.
The opening 200 medley squad (senior/captains Emily Tran & Annaliese Streeter, freshman Sawako Sakamoto, and junior Zannah Baker) almost pulled out a last-minute victory, coming in just .06 seconds behind Saline’s “A” (Kiersten Russell, Megan Socha, Samantha Graden, and Sam Bullard) that finished in 1:51.05, but still pocketing their D1 cut on the night.
Juniors Kathryn Hemmila (2:07.31) and Ezgi Poyraz (2:14.44) were 4th and 5th, respectively in the 200 free. In the 200 IM, Huron dominated with Streeter winning and swimming a D1 cut (2:07.86), promising freshman Jasmine Xu coming in 2nd (2:16.68), and S. Sakamoto, another speedy freshman, taking 4th (2:23.42).
Sophomore Catherine Li earned 4th place points in the 50 free (27.38), and sophomore Lucy Schneidewind took 5th (30.40).
Reigning Michigan state champion diver and River Rat senior/captain Annie Costello (258.75) easily triumphed in the dive event, with senior Julie Park (203.90), 4th, junior Maggie Thomas (143.50), 6th, and junior Sitara Baxendale (121.90), diving in exhibition, 9th.
Tran touched in 3rd in the 100 Fly (1:02.27), with S. Sakamoto earning the 5th place points (1:05.59) for that race. Tran won the 100 back (1:01.37), with senior Clara Bowman (1:08.36) coming in 5th.
In the 100 free, Baker (57.76) and Hemmila (57.92) were 3rd and 4th, and newcomer Xu (5:31.61) and Ece Uyulur (6:14.85) finished 3rd and 5th in the distance 500 free contest.
Streeter easily aced the 100 breast with a D1 cut time of 1:06.07, and junior Emma Kaipainen cruised into 4th place (1:13.52), picking up her first points on the season.
Streeter also led off the winning and state-cut-earning 200 free relay (1:41.76) with teammates Hemmila, Xu, and Baker.
Huron’s 400 free group (Hemmila, S. Sakamoto, Xu, and Tran) ended in 2nd place (3:54.72) after Saline’s very fast Russell, Kylie Evenson, Bella Arbaugh, and Amelia Hayes.
Representing the River Rats for the first time were S. Sakamoto, Schneidewind, Uyulur, Xu, and freshmen Claire Leone & Shayla Pawlicki.
Swimmers and divers are grateful to have a season and to be led again by swim coaches Andrea Stanczyk, JZ Zakrajsek and dive coach Vicki Kimball. The Rats have a second dual meet this Saturday in Dexter.
Main Photo by Pasi Kaipainen