HOLLAND – It was a long, snowy drive home for the Milan and Flat Rock girls swimming teams from Division 3 State Swimming and Diving Finals Saturday.
But it was well worth it for Lauren McNamara and Annabelle Williams.
Both brought home state titles.
Flat Rock’s McNamara defended the title she won last year in the butterfly while Williams pulled a surprise for Milan with a championship in the 200-yard freestyle.
NcNamara wasn’t really challenged in her signature event, winning by more than three seconds.
Her winning time of :55.26, was just off her lifetime best of :55.25 posted in the preliminaries Friday.
“She had a really good race,” said Shannon McNamara, Lauren’s mother and coach. “It’s been interesting. Each season has been different. The first year was a challenge because of the extended season (because of COVID) and last year she had COVID. Every year has been so different, but she works hard.”
McNamara also placed second in the individual medley with a lifetime best of 2:07.21. Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Rachel Bello won in 2:06.08.
“Lauren was ahead in the butterfly and backstroke,” Shannon McNamara said. “Rachel Bello is an amazing breaststroker.”
Many observers thought the best shot for Williams might be in the 100-yard freestyle, but she wound up winning the first individual event of the day.
She was seeded fourth in the 200, but won with a personal-best time of 1:54.09. Ella Dziobok of Detroit Country Day was second in 1:54.45 and Sophia Shaul of Trenton third in 1:54.51.
“Honestly, going into the week, if I had to guess which one she would win I would have said the 100,” Milan coach Dan Heikka said. “It’s her first year of swimming the 200 on the big stage. I was not really sure what she could go.”
Williams wound up excelling in the bright lights.
“It was a really tight race across the board,” Heikka said. “There were four or five girls in it until last 50, then Annablelle and two others pulled away. She brought the hammer down. It was a beautiful swim.”
Williams also placed third in the 100 at :52.46. Laney Wolf of Wayland won in :51.93 and Ella Schafer of St. John’s was second in :52.24.
“Annabelle had an incredible swim,” Heikka said.
Williams helped Milan place third in the team standings.
She combined with Kiera Luhrs, Phoebe Rhoney and Elaina Malach to place second in the 400-freeystyle relay (3:37.83) and third in the 200 (1:39.77).
The 500 freestyle was a big event for the Big Reds as Rhoney (third, 5:18.18), Malach (fourth, 5:23.38) and Lila McKenna (16th, 5:40.66) all won medals.
Mary-Katherine Wayne was fifth in the breaststroke (1:08.85), Luhrs seventh in the butterfly (1:00.40), Malach eighth in the 200 (1:59.67) and Kam Stripp finished ninth in the 200 (1:59.35) and 13th in the butterfly (1:01.53).
The medley relay of Krista Cook, Wayne, Luhrs and Rhoney took seventh (1:53.23).
Milan compiled 208 points to 245 for Bloomfield Hills Marian 245 and 230.5 for Holland Christian.
“Realistically, we were right there,” Heikka said. “It was a three-team race. It’s been a long time since we trophied at state.”
Dundee took 10th in the team standings with 82 points.
Joslyn Ball led the Vikings with a third-place finish in the backstroke at :59.49. She also swam on the fifth-place 200 freestyle relay with Emma O’Connell, Kaylee Imo and Lia Parry.
Sara Carter placed ninth in the 500 (5:30.7) and swam with O’Connell, Imo and Parry on the ninth-place 400 relay (3:45.18).
O’Connell was 15th in the 200 (2:04.73).