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Strong finish at states



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The Clarkston SeaWolves; from left in front row, Haley VanBuskirk, Caroline Hughes, Alyssa Schroeder, Betsey Walkowiak, and Rhianna Hensler; back row, Coach Tim Hickey and Coach Kelly Haynes. Not pictured Emma Barnes, Kelsey Gilbert and Coach Kenwyn Chock. Photo provided (click for larger version)
March 21, 2012 - Local swimmers pushed themselves through the blue depths to come out on top at the 12 & Under Short Course State Championship, March 9-11 at Lake Orion High School.

The Clarkston Sea Wolves finished in 15th place in the girls division with two relay teams taking sixth place.

"That is up from not even 20 points last year," Coach Tim Hickey added. "It is a huge improvement and most of them were first time qualifiers."

Seven swimmers qualified during the season to compete - Emma Barnes, Kelsey Gilbert, Rhianna Hensler, Caroline Hughes, Alyssa Schroeder, Haley VanBuskirk and Betsey Walkowiak.

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Hughes, Schroeder, Hensler, and VanBuskirk made up the relay team finishing sixth place in the 200-yard medley relay at 2:22.03.

Hughes, Hensler, VanBuskirk were also in the second relay team finishing sixth with Walkowiak in the 200-yard free relay, 2:05.52.

For the individual events Hughes led the way topping in all six of her individual events by finishing in ninth place or better.

She finished in fifth place in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke; sixth place in the 50-yard backstroke; seventh in 200-yard freestyle; eighth in the 100-yard freestyle and ninth in the 200-yard IM.

Hensler finished in 13th in the 50-yard butterfly and 16th in the 100-yard butterfly for her individual events. Schroeder finished 12th in the 500-yard freestyle.

"They really made the commitment," said Hickey about the seven swimmers. "They have been training since early September for this. They all committed to being at practice 4-5 times a week every week. Once they made the commitment at practice it was natural swimming faster would happen. They are all pretty young so to make that kind of commitment is a nice thing to see."

All of the Sea Wolves go to school in Clarkston and are done with this season. They have a small break before they start the spring/summer season in April - and they will be ready to go.

The Liquid Lightning team, with swimmers from Clarkston, Lake Orion, Oxford, Brandon, Rochester, Pontiac and Lapeer, finished in first place for the women's division and 12th for the men's division. They had seven individual state champion titles, two relay state champion titles and many finish in the top-16.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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