Boys Varsity Swimming · Dow wins 14th straight Tri-Cities boys’ swim title

UNIVERSITY CENTER — Dow High dominated the competition at Saturday’s seven-team Tri-Cities Swimming and Diving Championships, outscoring runner-up Saginaw Heritage (450) by 379 points to win with its meet-record total of 829.

The meet title was Dow’s 14th consecutive, and included record-setting individual performances from senior Nehemiah Mork and sophomore Hunter Grannum.

Bay City Western was third in the team standings at 248, while Bay City Central followed in fourth place at 245, Bay City John Glenn was fifth at 209, Midland High finished sixth with a 175, and Essexville Garber placed seventh with 86 points.

Mork was the catalyst for Dow, winning the 50-yard freestyle (21.26) and the 100 butterfly (51.13) among four first-place finishes that included swimming legs on the 200 free relay (1:29.10) and the 400 free relay (3:15.47).

Comprising the rest of the Dow 200 free relay were Ben Brandstadt, Noah Behm and Jacob Krzciok. Joining Mork on the 400 free relay were Krzciok, Beau Matthews and Nick Pixton.

Mork set meet records in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly.

He improved upon his own record in the 50 free, broke Brad Craig’s in the 100 free by more than a second, and broke Wade King’s roughly 30-year-old record in the 100 fly by a few hundredths of a second. In addition, Mork’s split of 45.90 in the 400 free relay was a lifetime best.

Meanwhile, Grannum broke Nick Miller’s 10-year-old school record in the diving, winning the event with 491.50 points to give Dow 10 first-place finishes among 12 events.

“Our objective is to reload every year,” said Dow coach Gary Strickler. “We knew we had a lot of depth going in, but what we didn’t know was how well the guys were going to swim.

“Thursday’s (preliminary) results were staggering in terms of the time drops we got,” he added. “We didn’t train on Wednesday, so what we were seeing was a full-blown, rested effort on Thursday before coming back (Saturday) to swim even faster.”

Strickler said Dow picked up 10-state qualifying times during the Tri Cities Meet, giving it a school record 13 to this point. Also, a school-record 16 Chargers have already qualified for the MISCA Meet.

“We had four to five guys scoring in the top eight for us in every event,” said Strickler. “All in all, it was a really good day capped by some really outstanding performances.”

Other first-place individuals for Dow were Matthews in the 200 free (1:49.72), Kevin White in the 500 free (4:59.04), Pixton in the 100 backstroke (54.92), and Behm in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.28). Dow also won the 200 medley relay, with Alex Owens, Behm, Brandstadt and Pixton clocking a 1:40.71.

The Chargers placed 1 through 4 in the 200 free, with White (1:49.87), Zach Fewkes (1:51.26) and Gage Bunker (1:53.03), respectively, following Matthews’s winning time.

In the 200 individual medley, Dow placed Behm (2:05.54) third, Krzciok (2:07.70) fourth, and Ben Newman (2:10.87), Chris Ludington (2:10.95) and Joey Park (2:12.93) sixth through eighth.

Pixton was second in the 50 free (22.35) for the Chargers, while Lucas Braganca (23.88) and Drew Hirselj (24.36) were sixth and seventh, and Dow’s Jacob Pasek (289.45) was fifth in diving.

Dow had Brandstadt (56.47) and Steve Xu (56.54) go second and third behind Mork in the 100 fly, while Owens (58.83) and Daniel Haines (1:01.10) finished sixth and seventh. In the 100 free, Krzciok (49.32) was second, while Hirselj (53.11) took seventh place.

The Chargers took the top three spots in the 500 free, with Bunker (5:02.33) and Fewkes (5:03.29) following White. Matthews (5:15.10) added to the depth with his sixth-place finish.

Owens (58.01) and Xu (58.61) went fourth and fifth in the 100 back for Dow, which also had Brandstadt (1:02.83), Newman (1:03.59) and Ludington (1:06.66) place third through fifth in the 100 breast. Jonathan Gorman added a seventh-place time of 1:07.79 in the 100 breast.

Xu, Newman, Bunker and Naoki Kihata swam the 200 medley relay in a third-place time of 1:47.24 for Dow, while Fewkes, Hirselj, Braganca and Matthews timed a third-place 1:35.10 in the 200 free relay, and the Chargers’ Fewkes, Braganca, White and Newman timed a 3:29.03 that was good for third in the 400 free relay.

Kihata (1:01.16) was seventh in the 100 back.