Source: The Observer/Eccentric
Author: Dan O'Meara
Farmington Hills Mercy had another dominating performance and achieved a milestone victory Saturday with its 10th consecutive championship in the annual Oakland County girls swimming and diving meet.
The Marlins, who seem to get a little better every year, accumulated 438 points in the Waterford Mott High School pool and won by nearly 200 over second-place Lake Orion.
Mercy's point total was up from last year (429) and two years ago (426.5). The Dragons scored the same as 2013 runner-up Clarkston (244), and Birmingham Marian (196) was third for the second year in a row.
"Our kids respond well to that meet," Mercy coach Shannon Dunworth said. "A lot of kids who might not get to contribute at the league or state levels due to either entry limitations or time restrictions get to contribute, so they typically step up and make it a team effort.
"I didn't even bother to look at (the point differential). I know Lake Orion had a great meet, as did Marian and Seaholm (177). We always have good competition there. Our kids were happy to do well, and we saw a lot of other teams doing well, too."
Mercy had three individual champions in senior Roxanne Griffore, 50-yard freestyle, 23.87; junior Ellyse Conn, 500 freestyle, 4:56.77; and freshman Katie Minnich, 100 backstroke, 56.55.
"Roxie has very high aspirations for this year," Dunworth said of the defending state champion in the 50. "To go to a meet like this and come out on top is really key for her.
"(The 500) is a relatively new event for Ellyse. I know how hard she trains the year round. It makes sense for her to swim that event. To some degree, this was a coming out party for her, and she did a really nice job.
"Katie Minnich is a real special, talented young lady. She's small in stature but has a tremendous amount of heart and desire. It was great for her to come in as a freshman and get a victory in the Oakland County meet."
The Marlins had someone in the top four in every event. Griffore also was second in the 100 free and Conn third in the butterfly.
Senior Maddy Loniewski finished second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 breaststroke.
"Maddy is the most well-rounded swimmer on the team," Dunworth said. "She can do just about anything and do it extremely well.
"She's a very soft-spoken leader. She does her talking every day in practice, and the other kids notice that."
Minnich also was third in the IM. Seniors Kathleen McGee, Michaela Bargardi and Jensen Pecora, junior Erin Judd, sophomore Alaina Skellett and freshmen Kendall Goit and Addy de Tassanyi scored in championship heats, too.
"We have a lot of really good kids who want to come and swim at Mercy," Dunworth said. "They train year round and they expect to perform well.
"It's certainly an indicator of depth, but more importantly it indicates they don't take this meet lightly. It's important to them to do well.
"You can't just perform when you're relaxed and comfortable. You have to perform when talent says so. On the first weekend in October, it always says so for us."
The Marlins won all three relays, too. A combination of Minnich, Skellett, Pecora, Griffore, Loniewski, Conn and McGee made it happen.
"At this time of the year, we're trying to figure out what we're going to do come the end of the year," Dunworth said of the relay teams. "We have to do extremely well in all three relays if we're going to be successful.
"It's difficult to cover all three with your absolute best kids. We have to rely on kids to come out of events tired and go into relays just prior to their events.
"It takes time to make sure kids can handle that. In regard to that, it certainly turned out the way we like to see it.
"I'm just really more excited about not any one or two good things but all of the above. If the team does well, the work we put in the last month and a half is paying off."