Rochester Hills — Fenton senior Gracie Olsen knows how it feels to win an individual event state championship.
Entering Saturday’s Division 2 MHSAA Girls Swimming and Diving Championship, she had already won four in her first three seasons with the Tigers.
But on Saturday, she had a unique experience she will probably never forget when she won her fifth individual event state title. She was able to share it with a teammate in the lane right next to her.
The Tigers were able to enjoy one of the greatest moments in Fenton girls swim history when teammates Olsen and freshman Tess Heavner were able to finish the 200 individual medley in first- and second-place respectively. Olsen earned the individual medley state title with a time of 2:01.58, dominating the field by more than three seconds. Finishing second was Heavner, who was competing in her first-ever state individual event final right next to Olsen, with an equally impressive time of 2:04.92. In fact, Heavner didn’t have much competition for second as St. Clair Shores Lakeview’s Elly Belmore took third with a time of 2:06.09, more than a second slower than Heavner’s time. The two teammates smiled and hugged after the event.
“That was so special,” Olsen said. “Having someone on my team side-by-side is just so fun. How could it not be? We are
working together for that team and it’s different when you are alone (in a race without teammates). I’m in this race alone for my team and it’s on me, but when you are in a race together it’s like ‘All right, we are in this, we can go 1-2 and we can do this.’”
“It was awesome,” Heavner said about the experience. “It was so exciting. We were just telling each other good job, gave each other a hug and said how happy we were.”
Olsen entered the meet with the top seed time of 2:02.85 while Heavner had the second seeded time of 2:05.85. During Friday’s preliminary round, Olsen posted a time of 2:02.90, earning the top seed and the right to select the introduction song for Saturday’s final event. This time she picked Run DMC’s “It’s Tricky.”
Olsen’s IM title was locked up about halfway through the race. She finished the first 100 56.70 seconds, about a second faster than Heavner’s second-place time of 57.82 seconds. The pair only extended their lead on the rest of the field from there.
Olsen admits she was nervous entering the race.
“I was so nervous,” Olsen said. “I’ve been thinking about it the last few days and this was one of my last chances to reach my goals. I was really nervous right until we started walking out and the music started playing. Then my nervousness became adrenaline and I was like, ‘All right, it’s go time, leave everything out there. This is your last one.’”
Olsen also won the 200 individual medley during her freshman season, posting a time of 2:03.19.