Swimmers look to prove they’re among elite

Back row (from left): Grace Vogler, Skylar Goik, Claire Alexander, Mackenzie Finley, Nellie Charnstrom, Paige Beeding, Grace Charnstrom, Jenna Fistler, Laura Mace, Emily McClear, Kinsey Jones, Ellie Olheiser and Ashley Bales. Second from back: Anna Dimeglio, Peyton Warren, Olivia Roth, Ashlee Weltyk, Izzy Frechette, Eleanor Nunez, Tate Hamilton, Allison Mooney, Paige Sjoblom, Annabelle Watson, Alexa Baker and Brooke Mandziuk. Middle: Paige Dell, Maddie Lovins, Addie Bishop, Cailin Griffith, Paige Hodder, Kaleigh Rogers, Alexis Johnson, Gihon Maxwell, Audrey Mandziuk, Maggie Pill and Emma DiMalanta. Front: Cali Schnur, Kristina Myers, Evelyn Kelso, Keira Veltigian, Sabrina Kurk, Peyton Bailey and Maddie Stevens.Not Pictured: Caitlyn Geda, Emily Geda, Katelynn Hefter, Grace Nunez, Maddie Perry and Abbie Speed. Photo by Shelby Tankersley.
Back row (from left): Grace Vogler, Skylar Goik, Claire Alexander, Mackenzie Finley, Nellie Charnstrom, Paige Beeding, Grace Charnstrom, Jenna Fistler, Laura Mace, Emily McClear, Kinsey Jones, Ellie Olheiser and Ashley Bales. Second from back: Anna Dimeglio, Peyton Warren, Olivia Roth, Ashlee Weltyk, Izzy Frechette, Eleanor Nunez, Tate Hamilton, Allison Mooney, Paige Sjoblom, Annabelle Watson, Alexa Baker and Brooke Mandziuk. Middle: Paige Dell, Maddie Lovins, Addie Bishop, Cailin Griffith, Paige Hodder, Kaleigh Rogers, Alexis Johnson, Gihon Maxwell, Audrey Mandziuk, Maggie Pill and Emma DiMalanta. Front: Cali Schnur, Kristina Myers, Evelyn Kelso, Keira Veltigian, Sabrina Kurk, Peyton Bailey and Maddie Stevens.Not Pictured: Caitlyn Geda, Emily Geda, Katelynn Hefter, Grace Nunez, Maddie Perry and Abbie Speed. Photo by Shelby Tankersley.

This season’s varsity swim and dive girls make up a team of 49 water-lovers ready to prove themselves in a new division.

This year’s team is being led by captains senior Claire Alexander, senior Tate Hamilton and junior Caitlyn Geda.

Since the team has so much talent, Head Coach Jackie Rank has a hard time picking standout swimmers. But, she says some of her best all-around swimmers who can compete in any event this season include junior Ashlee Weltyk, sophomore Jenna Fistler and freshman Cali Schnur. On the diving side, this season’s best includes senior Keira Veltigian and sophomore Peyton Warren.

Moving into the Oakland  Activities Association’s (OAA) white division this year, the team’s biggest goal is to prove they belong with more elite competition.

“Hopefully we’ll draw more out of out athletes with this tougher competition,” Rank said. “At the same time, we want to prove ourselves and show that we belong in that division.”

To make sure they stay competitive at a higher level, Rank plans on making sure her swimmers and divers are fundamentally strong, saying that is what will help them be truly great as they continue their athletic careers.

Simply, she says the team has taken what they’ve done in the past and is “kicking it into another gear.”

“Right now we’re working on a lot of stroke technique,” Rank said. “You know, it’s really important to do things correctly. You want to be really efficient in the water, or in the air if you’re a diver. We want our athletes to do things correctly, and then we can improve from there.”

Rank says she is working primarily with the swimmers and letting assistant coach John Pearson work with the divers, as he is more specialized in that area. But, even though the girls are working with different coaches in different specialties, Rank says the team plans to keep the close bond it developed during past seasons.

“The biggest thing we’re carrying forward, which I think was a big factor in how we did last year, is the feeling of the team being a family,” Rank said. “Everybody is there for each other, and we’re definitely bringing that back this year.”

In their first meet of the season on Thursday, Aug. 30, the girls defeated former OAA blue division Berkley by two points.

The Wildcat swimmers dive into the pool again on Sept. 6 away against West Bloomfield and Notre Dame Prep.

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