Michigan’s South Eastern Conference Championship Swim Meet
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Saline High School Natatorium — The crowd roared with the excitement of all six teams gathered at the Southern Eastern Conference championship meet (SEC). All the training, early morning workouts, and sacrifices that the teams had made came down to this moment. The meet began with the announcer calling all the teams that had gathered, Bedford, Huron, Monroe, Pioneer, Saline, and Skyline. All the had come for the single purpose of winning the meet.
It was early in the afternoon at Saline High School Natatorium and Skyline Swim and Dive head coach Mo-Jo Isaac watched over her team warming up like a hawk. She had a different agenda for the meet than that of the swimmers. She wanted the swimmers to realize the rewards of their hard work. She had trained them to swim their absolute best at this meet, the final meet for her swimmers that would not be attending the state meet.
As the team emerged from their warm-up, they were determined to win the meet. However – Saline – the team that had won the championship meet consecutively for four years, wasn’t going to give their streak up so easily.
The meet began with a 200-meter medley relay — an event where four members of the team work together to swim all four strokes — an eerie silence fell upon the natatorium as the conversations died down for the race. BANG! The race was off with a fight for first between the two teams Saline and Skyline. As the teams raced their teammates cheered them on until their voices were hoarse. At the end of the race, Saline won with Skyline coming in 0.23 seconds behind. Disappointed but knowing they were only in the beginning of the meet Skyline shook off their loss and began to focus on their individual events.
Fueled by the loss of their relay and their desire to win Skyline scored four people, the maximum amount of people a team is allowed to score, in the top 10 for the events: 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and the 50-meter freestyle.
“We had more athletes that could score points in each of the events,” assistant coach Andy Fillmore said. “Even if we didn’t win every event, the team victory comes from having enough depth. So the team’s strength really mattered.”
Finally, the swimming transferred to diving where Henry Schirmer, a diver for Skyline, began to dive. He flipped, turned, and made an impression on all the judges. However, at the end of the diving session Henry achieved second place, losing only to senior Dakota Hurbis of Saline.
Excited from Schirmer’s placing of second place Skyline swimmers came back swimming. Skyline quickly reclaimed first place in the meet scoring their top four swimmers for that event in the top ten places for the 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle, and 500-meter freestyle.
However, the moment came where Saline could start to reclaim their victory. The 200-meter freestyle relay was next. Once again the natatorium became silent as everyone focused on winning their race. As the race went on Saline took the lead and eventually won the race. Huron raced to claim second place, and Pioneer obtained third place. Finally: Skyline finished their relay. Determined to not let their loss get to them Skyline ignored the race as they continued to finish the meet.
For the next two races Skyline would be working on obtaining the points lost from their relay once again. In the 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter breaststroke Skyline would score all four people they could score in the top 10.
Finally, the last race of the day was upon them. The 400-meter relay: an event of extreme intensity — Skyline was determined to win this event — to win a relay at the meet. As they began to swim they exerted all their effort into gaining a lead in the race. David Cleason gained the relay a lead of 0.27 seconds, then handed the race to Kyle Tschannen who closed the lead from 0.27 to 0.15 seconds. As the rest of the team cheered them on, Michael MacGillivary began his portion of the relay giving Spener Jyawook, the relay’s final swimmer, a 1.76-second buffer. Spencer used the buffer to his advantage as he won the relay with Saline coming in 0.48 seconds behind.
Isaac congratulated every member of her team ecstatically. “SEC’s was everything I hoped it could be,” Isaac said. “People were willing to stretch their comfort zones and try new events. Their trust in me and the tremendous time we spent on technique and race strategy really paid off.”
Standing as a team, the Skyline men’s swim and dive team cherished the moment when they heard over the speakers. “Congratulations to this year’s men’s swimming and diving SEC champions,” the announcer of the meet sad. “Skyline High School with 580 points with Saline High School coming in second place, with 508 points.”
“Some people didn’t do as well as they were hoping to,” sophomore Ben Keith said. “But, they still came together at the end to help us win the meet. I thought we did well as a team, and individually.”