Rochester – It was the perfect way to end an outstanding night at the Division 2 State Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at Oakland University.
The Fenton varsity girls swim team had already watched its 200 medley relay team place fifth, saw sophomore Gracie Olsen win two individual event state titles in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly and seen many others have strong individual efforts during Saturday’s second day of the meet at Oakland University. Emotions were already high. So why not finish with something else that would make the performance historical?
The Tigers did just that.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Olsen, Lillie Kromer, Delaney Fries and Abigail Dolliver finished in third place in the event in a school-record time of 3:34.55, becoming the first-ever Fenton relay to leave a state meet with a top-three finish.
Overall, the Tigers had an outstanding meet, placing eighth in the final standings with 111 points, just one of nine teams to score at least 100 points at the event. The relay performance may have meant more to Kromer, a senior, who was competing in her final race as a Fenton Tiger. The other three girls are underclassmen. The Tigers entered the race as the fifth seed after Friday’s prelim time of 3:36.21. However, on Saturday, the Tigers had outstanding performances by all four swimmers, and actually led the race for the majority of the event before finishing in third.
“Going into it we had to pull out every last bit of energy we had,” Kromer said. “(Fenton varsity girls swim coach Brad) Jones told us ‘Third place is yours. You just have to work for it’ and we did. Gracie pulled out and I don’t even remember swimming. I just remember going off the wall, touching and suddenly it was over. Delaney swam faster than I ever saw her swim before and Abby – I just haven’t seen that type of energy from them before. It was absolutely insane … watching Abby touch, see No. 3 on the scoreboard and see it was a record-breaking time was amazing.”
“It was the best part of the meet,” Olsen said. “We had a senior on that relay and we wanted to go out with a bang. We were really happy we could help, and we helped her go out with a bang.”
“That’s a really big deal. We took third, broke our record twice this meet and that’s really great,” Dolliver said. “I’m excited about next year.”
The Tigers had participants in eight of the 12 events held during Saturday’s finals and consolation finals events. The night started with a positive when the 200 medley relay team of Olsen, Dolliver, Halee Alexander and Kromer took fifth with a time of 1:49.19.
Olsen’s first individual state performance of the night came in the next event when the sophomore won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:48.98, beating the field by more than two seconds. About an hour later, Olsen would win her second title of the night – and third of her young career – by winning the 100 butterfly (54.62). Her time earned her Dream Team status from the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. For more about Olsen’s performance go to tctimes.com for another story.
Kromer competed in two individual events as well, taking 15th place in the 50 freestyle (24.95) and 16th in the 100 freestyle (54.50). Diver Emma Jump had a day to remember. The junior entered her final three dives in 13th, but improved to 11th by scoring nearly 100 points during her Saturday dives. She finished with a score of 330.10. The final Fenton performer was Dolliver in the 100 breaststroke where she finished 15th in 1:09.61. A few minutes later, she was anchoring the 400 freestyle relay to a third-place finish.
“It was really tough but I’ve done that (swam the 100 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay) the whole season,” Dolliver said.
The Tigers were excited about their state meet performances.
“I think our team has grown a lot this year – mentally and physically,” Dolliver said. “We’ve grown so close, I think the last few races were a great way to top off the end of the season.”
“Last year we got 15th,” Kromer said. “This year we were eighth which is crazy considering the small amount of girls that we had back the second day. It was amazing how we were able to pull through.”