Swimming: River Rats touch third at competitive SEC Red League Meet

By Margaret Baker / WLAA

It actually happened!

The SEC Red Girls’ Championship Swim/Dive meet, an event that seemed like it might not occur because of the pandemic, blew through Skyline over the Halloween weekend, featuring amazing performances by all teams on the board and in the water.  Time was dropped all over the place, a testament to coaches’ skills at managing at least some kind of taper during an admittedly very wacky season. Final scores:  Pioneer 640; Saline 511; Huron 408; Skyline 393.

Huron’s coaches, Vicki Kimball (dive) and Andrea Stanczyk (head coach, swim) and Jennifer Zakrajsek were more than pleased with the outcome.

On Friday, River Rat divers had a wonderful outing, with senior/captain Annie Costello easily taking first (458.40), senior Julie Park solidly in 4th (345.55), and juniors Maggie Thomas (230.50) and Sitara Baxendale (197.70), in 14th and 16th, respectively, picking up points for Huron.

On Saturday in the pool, standout moments abounded, like junior Zannah Baker’s victory in the 50 Free (24.21), 1/100 of a point ahead of 2nd place Claire Kozma (24.22) from Skyline, who was, in turn, 1/100 ahead of 3rd place Amelia Weyhing from Pioneer (24.23); and her 5th place finish in the 100 Free (53.14), where both swims were personal bests, and earned her state cuts.

Senior/captain Annaliese Streeter’s first-place touch in the 200 IM (2:03.40) and 2nd in the 100 Breast (1:03.18), just a hair behind Pioneer’s Edwina Jalet (1:03.00) delighted Rat fans, as did senior/captain Emily Tran’s 2nd place finish in the 100 Fly (57.87).  Freshman Jasmine Xu pocketed two state cuts, in the 100 Breast (1:07.00), where she finished 5th, and in the 100 Free (53.50), 6th.

Other noteworthy events were junior Emma Kaipainen’s surprise state cut (and 7th place finish) in the 100 Breast (1:08.28); junior Kathryn Hemmila’s 9-second drop (and 7th place finish) in the 200 free (1:58.56); freshman Sawako Sakamoto’s 7th place in the 100 Fly (1:01.05) and 10th in the 100 Back (1:01.90).

Huron’s “A” 200 Free relay squad  (A. Streeter, Xu, Hemmila, and Baker) earned a place in Huron history with their school-record-breaking swim (1:36.74) for which they earned 2nd after Pioneer’s state championships hopefuls (Sophia Guo, Lily Cramer, Weyhing, and Stella Chapman), who finished in a blazing 1:34.97. Both teams, in fact, broke the Skyline pool record with those amazing swims. The 200 Medley team of Tran, A. Streeter, S. Sakamoto and Xu were 3rd (1:47.43), and the 4 X 100 group (Baker, S. Sakamoto, Hemmila, Tran), 4th (3:41.96).

Other Rat scorers were junior Ezgi Poyraz, 16th in the 200 Free (2:11.11) and 9th in the 500 (5:51.92, a 27-second drop; junior Ayaka Sakamoto, 10th in the 200 IM (2:25.64) and in the 100 Breast (1:12.47); junior Cali Streeter, 13th in the 200 IM (2:31.35) and 16th in the 100 Fly (1:09.09); senior Amaris Beal, who shaved 13 seconds to finish 15th in that event (2:48.12); Kaipainen, 10th in the 50 Free (25.65); senior Clara Bowman, 12th in the 100 Fly (1:04.99) and 13th in the 100 Back (1:02.40); Hemmila, 8th in the 100 Free (55.06); and sophomore Catherine Li, 16th in the 100 Back (1:07.24).

Also representing the Rats were senior/captain Kiana Hemati, Ella Szymansky and Pooja Yalavarthi, juniors Sara Abdul-Hak, Margo Leone, Sophia Riegle and Ali Sutton; sophomores Hannah Burmann, Analiese Heissenbuettel, and Lucy Schneidewind, and freshmen Natalie Bohnsack , Anna Esper, Rihanna Gleason, Claire Leone, and Ece Uyulur

Everyone hopes to see some more fantastic swim/dive performances the weekend of Nov. 20th and 21st in Hudsonville.  Stay safe, everyone!

Swimming: Pioneers win SEC Red League Meet; Eagles land fourth