Source: Sherman Publications

Dragon swimmers qualify for state

October 23, 2013

By Riley Holder

Review Special Writer

The Lake Orion girls’ swim and dive team notched another win against the rival Oxford Wildcats with a 119-67 score last week.

The victory brings the Lady Dragons overall record to 6-3, including a 2-3 record in the OAA Red Division.

Despite not yet being over, the season has been full of highlights for the Dragons. The squad has already had seven swimmers qualify for the MHSAA Division 1 State Championships, which take place November 20 and 21.

The team of girls who have qualified for the state championship consists of freshmen Sarah Henning in the 100 butterfly; sophomore Kirstyn Abbasse in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle, and 500 freestyle; sophomore Natalie Zainea in the 200 freestyle; junior Bethanny Abramczyk in the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 500 freestyle; junior Danielle Kudla in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle; junior Lydia Mattar in the 100 breaststroke, and senior Paige Munro in the 50 freestyle.

The team has also qualified for all three relays which include the 200 medley relay, the 200 freestyle relay, and the 400 freestyle relay.

Head coach Darin Abbasse says the highlight of the season for his team was the Oakland County Championships. The team finished fifth overall at the event, which is the Dragon’s best ever finish since the team was established in 1998.

Among notable results were Abbasse’s second place finish in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5:06.60, which shattered the old school record by three seconds. The 200 freestyle relay team consisting of Munro, Kudla, Abbasse and Abramczyk, also set a new school record with a time of 1:38.56.

The Lady Dragons are relatively young, with only five of 38 swimmers and divers on the roster being seniors.

“Our co-captains Paige Munro and Erica Kevnick stand out as senior leaders. Two others that have to be recognized are Jessica Walukonis and Aimee Ginez who have just, on a daily basis, been very dedicated and committed to the sport. They might not be the fastest, but they are always here and they are willing participants who do whatever it takes,” Coach Abbasse said.

Even with three league defeats on the season, the one thing Coach Abbasse would change this season if he could has nothing to do with wins or losses.

“The thing I would ask for is more swimmers. Being a population of 2,500 students, I would hope to have more than 40 participants and our goal is to have between 50 and 60. I think that’s where you’re going to find kids who don’t think they have a talent in a particular sport, but actually their abilities are probably in swimming. They just don’t realize it.”

The team had their final OAA Red Division meet on Thursday this week against Troy High School. The matchup with Troy will be the final home meet of the season for the Dragons, making it the team’s senior night.