Newman earns two top-three finishes to lead Dow High swimmers
HOLLAND — Two high finishes by Claire Newman and lifetime-best times for almost every swimmer highlighted the Dow High girls swim team’s performance on Friday in the preliminary heats of the Division 2 state championship meet at the Holland Aquatic Center.
Newman finished second in the 100-yard freestyle and third in the 50 freestyle to advance to the championship finals in both events on Saturday, when action starts at noon.
The top eight in each event on Friday moved into Saturday’s championship finals, while places nine through 16 moved into the consolation finals.
“Seven out of our nine individual swims were lifetime bests,” Dow coach Chilly Smith said. “We’re very pleased with that.”
In the 100 free, Newman (51.14 seconds) took second to Ileah Doctor of East Grand Rapids, who swam a Division 2-record time of 49.60. Defending Division 2 state champion Annette Schultz of Dexter was third at 51.41.
“Claire had an awesome swim. We’re extremely happy (with her time),” Smith said of Newman’s lifetime best.
Also in the 100 free, Dow’s Sarah Saead took 22nd with a lifetime best (54.74), and Bay City Western’s Morgan Weiss was 31st (55.45).
In the 50 free, Newman’s lifetime best of 23.42 was third behind Doctor (state-record 22.33) and defending Division 2 champion Haley Dolan (23.36). Doctor is the defending Division 3 champion in the 50 free.
Saead made the consolation final of the 50 free with a 15th-place, lifetime best of 24.75, Western’s Weiss was 27th (25.23) and Western’s Hannah Lytle was 38th (25.66).
In the 500 free, the Chargers advanced two swimmers to the consolation final with lifetime bests: Chelsea Fenton in 12th (5:16.22) and Abbey Huffman in 13th (5:16.60). Western’s Grace Lance was 24th (5:28.07).
Also for Dow, Sasha Konovalenko took 17th in the 200 individual medley (2:13.40)
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and 18th in the 100 backstroke (lifetime-best 1:00.61).
Western diver Abigail Harned took 25th in the preliminaries (137.40 points) and did not advance to the semifinals.
In the 400 free relay, Dow’s Saead/Konovalenko/Newman/Emily Schultheis took fifth (season-best 3:36.35) to advance to the championship final. Western’s Lytle/Lance/Maddy Hilderbrand/Weiss took 22nd (3:56.08).
In the 200 free relay, Saead/Newman/Schultheis/Shelbee Simanskey took ninth (1:40.95) to advance to the consolation final, missing out on the championship final by 0.63 second.
Konovalenko/Fenton/Katie White/Schultheis took 19th in the 200 medley relay (1:55.14).
“I still think we have a shot for the top 12 (as a team),” Smith said. “Our goal was to get everyone back (for the seond day), but we didn’t quite do that, because the medley relay didn’t get in. But all in all, it was a really good (day) for us.”
Smith said he’s thrilled for Saead and Fenton that they will earn their first state medals on Saturday.
“Overall, the girls were very excited,” Smith said of his team.