Swimmers make transition from blue to white
September 07, 2011 - It's one transition after another for Jackie Rank and the varsity girls swimming and dive team.
|Top Row L-R: G. Galbraith, M. Skelton, M. Greene, J. Currie, E. Ormiston Fourth Row L-R: M. ,K. Barber, E. Marsh, M. Lavender, C. Wroblewski, S. Wood Third Row L-R: M. Anderson, M. Johnson, J. Piecyznski, A. Miller, T. Curtis, K. Flanagan, H. Kornburger, A. Harvell Second Row L-R: R. FitzCrane, H. Christie, S. Kurk, A. Bertges, C. Lavender Bottom Row: L-R: M. Stockard, A. Miller, A. Fredericks, E. Wilkins, S. Liverance, M. Murphy (click for larger version)|
Just one season after switching from the Flint Metro League to the Oakland Activities Association's blue division, the girls will transition from the blue to white after finishing last season with a 5-1 division record.
"I'm not really sure what to expect or where we are going to fall in that group. It's a completely different group than last year and it is almost like joining a new league all over again," she said.
"We were pretty nervous coming from the Flint Metro League and joining the OAA last year and we did very well joining the blue group, and now it's like joining a whole new league and trying to figure out where we are going to end up against the middle seven teams," Rank added.
This year, Oxford will swim against Berkley, Bloomfield Hills Andover, Auburn Hills Avondale, Rochester Stoney Creek, Farmington, and Rochester.
For Rank, the 2011 girls swim and dive team is a young squad full of fresh faces waiting to make their impact in the pool. Out of the 31 girls on the team, one-third of the team are freshman.
Out of the 10 freshman on the team, two are divers.
Rank also has 10 sophomores, eight juniors and three seniors.
"I think they are going to be really surprised where they are by the end of the season," Rank said.
Even though the team graduated some quality swimmers and divers from last year's squad, Rank still sees a squad that competed in the OAA white division.
Returning divers this year Megan Anderson and Kati Flanagan, along with Elizabeth Marsh, a freshman, look to pick up where the diving program left off when it's top three divers graduated.
Helping lead the Wildcats this season are seniors captains Amanda delaPaz, Claire Patrell and Grace Galbraith and junior captain Miranda Murphy.
Rank said she allows the team to select the captain rather than the coaching staff.
"We take a vote at the end of the year at the banquet. We have the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors pick who the captains are going to be," Rank said. "Then we either pick two seniors and one junior or three seniors and one junior if we think it is close or we think somebody would do well as a captain."
"The way I figure it, the seniors know the juniors the longest, as well as the other juniors, so they deserve to be heard of who they think would be great to lead the team after they are gone," Rank added.
Sophomore Haley Kornburger will also play a big role for the team this season.
So far this season, Kornburger has broken two school records in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly, and has already qualified for the state swimming finals.
Rank noted even though she has a lack of depth in the sprinting areas of the team, she is not too worried about it because "the easiest thing to make is a sprinter."
"The fact that I have the strokes covered is nice," Rank said. She added a couple of good sprinters for the Wildcats will be freshmen Marissa Johnson and Sydney Liverance.
The Wildcats began OAA white play with a 93-92 loss to Berkley on Thursday, Sept. 1.
Oxford claimed the top spot in seven events - 200 Medley relay, 50 Freestyle, Diving, 100 Freestyle, 100 Backstroke, 100 Breaststroke and 400 Freestyle Relay.
They also swept the diving portion of the competition, with freshman Maura Green coming in first with 140.2 points. Freshman Elizabeth Marsh took second and sophomore Kati Flanagan finished third.
Oxford travels to Bloomfield Andover on Thursday, Sept. 8 for their second league duel meet. They are currently 1-2 overall.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.