Last season when the Grand Ledge varsity Swim & Dive team travelled to St Johns the result was not pretty. The RedWings steamrolled the Comets by 69 points en route to their second straight CAAC Blue crown. This season the Comets were determined to provide their fans with a different outcome & they did just that as they swam to a 122-63 victory Thursday evening at Grand Ledge High School.
“I think after last season’s result the girls were a little extra motivated to have a good showing this evening. St Johns is such a tough & well coached team, we have great respect for their program. Getting the win tonight felt good because they have been the champs the last few years & we are trying to get to where they are,” said Grand Ledge Head Coach Ian Townsend.
The meet kicked off with one of the better races of the evening in the 200 Medley Relay. Grand Ledge freshman Grace Weston led off the backstroke portion of the race in a dead heat with the RedWings before passing the torch to senior co-captain Meg Pope who turned in a blistering breaststroke split. From there freshman Lola Mull had a really strong butterfly split and handed a two second lead over to sophomore Abby Ford who would not relinquish the lead to finish the relay in a season best time of 1:56.77.
The next event saw Mull return to place first in the 200 Freestyle & she was backed up by senior co-captain Katie Thomas who turned in a season best time of 2:03.43. Finishing the 200 Freestyle in 4th was GL freshman Chloe Willobee who lowered her season best time by 3 seconds down to 2:16.65.
The 50 Freestyle witnessed a dominating performance from junior Emma Cornell as she swam a lifetime best of 25.86 and led from start to finish. Senior Alexis Everett returned from injury to place 3rd in 27.88 and freshman Dani Ries placed 4th in 28.66.
The 100 Butterfly saw Meg Pope continue her inspired performance with a win & lifetime best time of 1:05.82. Abby Ford & senior Hanbyd Lee secured big points with 3rd & 4th place finishes respectively in the 100 Butterfly as well.
The 500 Freestyle saw probably the most impressive individual feat of the meet as Mull returned to break her own school record in the 500 Freestyle & break former Okemos & University of Minnesota star Amelia Marsh’s 10 year old pool record with a time of 5:14.70. Thomas & Willobee chipped in with a 3rd & 4th place finish also in the 500 Freestyle.
The 200 Freestyle Relay continued the Comet onslaught as the A & B relays combined to finish first & second, scoring major points for the cause. The A team of Ford, Cornell, Pope & Thomas notched a 1:46.47 while the B team of junior Amiya Harris, Ries, Hanbyd Lee & Everett swam to a time of 1:54.61.
In the 100 Back freshman Grace Weston swam a season best time of 1:04.12 to grab the win with sophomores Isabel Lee & Andrea Mueller-Hayes recording best times as well to place 3rd & 4th. The 100 Breaststroke was another strong event for the host Comets as Meg Pope finished her night with four victories this time in 1:11.93. Not far behind was Abby Ford & Amiya Harris as they placed 2nd & 4th with times of 1:13.26 & 1:14.84.
The final event of the evening was a Comet rout as the team of Mull, Thomas, Cornell & Weston placed 1st with a season best time of 3:50.53 and bested its nearest competition by nearly 8 seconds.
“We won plenty of close races which is something I love to see as a coach. We were hot tonight and that all started at the top with our upperclassmen. They set the example for the others to follow and our underclassmen, to their credit, laid down a valiant performance,” said Townsend.
The team next travels to DeWitt on September 22nd for a showdown with a talented Panthers squad. The win over St Johns pushed the teams season record to 3-0 overall & 2-0 in the CAAC Blue.