A youth movement will be served when the Fenton varsity girls swimming and diving team competes at the Division 2 state swim meet being hosted by the Holland Aquatic Center on Friday and Saturday.
Fenton has nine competitors going to the state meet with eight of them being underclassmen. Those nine performers will compete in three relays and three different individual events.
“We are young,” Fenton varsity swim coach Brad Jones said. “For us our goal is to make the second day. This year if we can get to where we are staying, our goals can be higher next year.”
The Fenton performers are senior Taylor Shegos, juniors Caitlyn Dailey, Sabrina Hall, Megan Mallard, Carly Kozlowski and Emma Snedden; sophomores Lillie Krommer and Morgan Smith; and freshman Abigail Dolliver.
Flint Powers will be at the Division 3 meet at Oakland University, and the Chargers’ team includes two Fenton residents. Senior Allie Dasky and freshman Lara Wujciak will be competing for the Chargers.
Fenton’s best chance of scoring some serious points, and even possibly earning an individual state championship, involves the one senior on the state team, Shegos. Shegos finished second in the diving event a year ago, and won the regional diving competition at Fenton High School with a score of 414.05. That score ranks her fourth in the state entering the meet. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central has the top three seeded girls — Anna Hansen, Colleen Kramer and Nicole Carlson.
Shegos is going to have some company from her teammates in the event. Smith placed sixth at regionals (304.70) and Kozlowski placed seventh (298.05), qualifying both for the state meet. The rest of the performers will be swimming in the pool, and most will be competing in relays. The Tigers will open Friday’s preliminaries with the 200 medley relay squad of Krommer, Dolliver, Dailey and Hall and will have two more teams in the second half of the preliminaries. The 200 freestyle relay team will include Hall, Mallard, Snedden and Dailey. The Tigers will cap the meet with the 400 freestyle relay team of Hall, Mallard, Kromer and Dailey.
Jones said due to the team’s youth, the swimmers are going to have to push their exchanges as much as possible.
“We are working on our exchanges,” Jones said. “We know we have to be perfect in our relays. I certainly believe we can do that. It’s hard because for us to get in the finals as young as we are, we have to push. And the fear of disqualification is so prominent. It’s always there and it’s a bad thing. The reality is if we don’t push it to the very end, we are not (going to make it to the second day). We can have a safe start and not come back. Is that worse than pushing it and maybe getting DQ’d and having a chance at getting in?”
Others competing in individual events are Dailey in the 100 butterfly and Kromer in the 100 freestyle.
Dasky will cap her prep career competing in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle individually while Wujciak will begin her prep state career by competing in the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. The pair will compete in two relays as well, competing in the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle.