Fenton — When Fenton’s varsity swim team defeated Swartz Creek and John Glen in a recent dual meet at Fenton High School, the atmosphere felt quite a bit like it has for any typical meet over the last 10 years during the regular season.
The Tigers defeated both squads and the Tigers continued their dominance against Flint Metro League teams. A lot of the same girls who have led the squad this year or in recent seasons, did so as well on Thursday.
However, for one diver, her fifth-place finish at the event may have been one of her most memorable performances of her career. Why? That’s because it was senior Morgan Smith’s first after suffering an ACL injury during gymnastics season in January.
Smith has had to sit on the sidelines all season long while her teammates competed, but that ended at the meet when she was cleared to compete for the first time. The two-time state-qualifier has had better scores than her 148.10, but it was the first time she was able to test her injury on the board in competition this year. And she was thrilled to be able to compete.
“It was really sad to just watch my teammates compete. I wanted to be out there with them, doing well,” Smith said. “I meet with my surgeon every four weeks, and my surgeon said I could dive.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to come back because he kept saying it was not fully healed yet.
I was nervous that I would have to sit out the entire season.”
“It was fun (competing again). I was glad I was able to compete and I hope to do even more.”
Fenton varsity girls swim coach Brad Jones said the goal is to get Smith a full 11-dive routine so she can compete at the regional meet at the end of the season.
“That’s the goal. I want to try to get close to where I was last year, and just making it through an 11-dive meet would be nice,” Smith said. “I don’t know (if I can qualify for the state meet). I’ll check to see where I am when I get there. I could be if I keep working at it, but we’ll see.”
If Smith makes it to the state meet, she’s going to have plenty of teammates there with her as company. The Tigers are routinely pounding out state qualifying times this season, and Thursday’s meet wasn’t any different. The 200 medley relay team of Gracie Olsen, Abigail Dolliver, Halee Alexander and Lillie Kromer (1:55.20) took first with a state-qualifying time, while the 400 freestyle relay team of Kromer, Sophie Stefanac, Madeline Kazmierski and Olsen ended the meet with a first-place state-qualifying time (3:50.00) as well.
In between the Tigers found themselves in some spirited competition earning six individual firsts and four individual seconds against John Glen and Swartz Creek.
Olsen and Dolliver continued their strong seasons with two individual firsts. Olsen had times way below the state-qualifying marks en route to firsts in the 100 butterfly (57.83) and the 100 backstroke (1:00.04). Meanwhile, Dolliver had firsts in the 200 individual medley (2:22.03) and in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.17).
Kromer took a first in the 100 freestyle (56.26) and earned second in the 50 freestyle (25.74) while Emma Jump won diving (224.20). Her Fenton teammate Chloe Mallard was her biggest competition, taking second in diving (220.25). Stefanac also earned a second in the 500 freestyle (5:36.74) while Rose Haney earned a second in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.17).