Men’s Swim Finishes Season Fifth in SEC


Credit: @ChelseaSwimDive on Twitter.

The Bulldogs ended the season with a 5th place finish in the SEC White championship meet last weekend.

Dexter won the championship with 584 points, Pinckney scored second with 432 points, Jackson placed third with 428 points, Adrian finished fourth with 241 points, Chelsea got fifth with 230 points, while Lincoln finished sixth with 199 points and Tecumseh seventh with 53.

Going into the meet, the Bulldogs hoped to “avenge an early-season loss to Adrian in January.” Though they feel short by 11 points, Coach Andrew Thomson explained he was pleased with how the team did, as 23 out of 24 individuals swam season best times at the meet.

“That’s absolutely unheard of,” he said. “We managed to drop nearly a full second per 50 yards swam, which is also well above average.”

The meet started Friday night with diving. Freshman Mitch Brown finished SEC runner-up with a final score of 445.25 points and senior Michael Hanna placed eighth with 186.55 points.

“For Mitch this was his first chance to perform an 11-dive list and we could not have asked for much better,” dive coach Kristy Richart remarked. “For Michael, he far exceeded his own expectations for this year, having just completed an 11-dive list last season as a junior.”

The swimming portion of the meet started Saturday, where the medley relay team of Joel Burke (‘23), Jack Leissner (‘24), Stephen Levine (‘23) and Mitch Brown started off the meet finishing sixth with a time of 1 minute 58.53 seconds (1:58.53). The B relay team of Gus Alafita (‘24), Bram Hartsuff (‘23), Brennan Bagbey (‘23), and Rollen Zachrich (‘21) placed fourteenth with a time of 2:12.12.

In the 200 freestyle, Parker Olk improved his seeding for the upcoming state meet, finishing as SEC runner-up with a time of 1:50.48.Hartsuff finished thirteenth at a time of 2:06.08 and sophomore Owen Critchfield placed fourteenth with 2:06.74. 

In the 50 freestyle Critchfield led the Bulldogs, finishing eleventh overall at a time of 25.30 with teammate Levine right behind in thirteenth place at 25.52.

Olk again led the Bulldogs in the 100 butterfly finishing runner-up with a time of 55.34, while Levine touched ninth at 1:04.36. 

Joseph Grudzinski (‘24) was the fastest Bulldog in the 100 freestyle, earning thirteenth place with a time of 58.44 seconds. Hartsuff was the lone Chelsea representative in the 500 freestyle and dropped a lot of time to finish tenth at 5:41.16. 

The 200 freestyle relay team of Olk, Critchfield, Brown and Levine finished third overall with a time of 1:38.23, earning a spot on the podium. The team of Alafita, Misha McElrath (‘24), Bagbey, and Gabe Muckle (‘23) placed thirteenth at 2:07.28.

Multiple Bulldogs scored in the 100 backstroke. Burke placed fourteenth with a time of 1:07.26, and Zachrich was sixteenth at 1:12.71. Hanna led the team in the 100 breaststroke, earning ninth at 1:12.84, with teammate McElrath finishing thirteenth at 1:20.90 and Leissner in fifteenth with a time of 1:22.74.

The meet wrapped up with the 400 freestyle relay team of Olk, Brown, Grudzinski and Critchfield finishing fourth with a time of 3:40.55 and the B team of Burke, Hartsuff, McElrath and Hanna placing twelfth at 4:04.86.

“This meet was my favorite memory of the season,” Olk said. “I am proud of how well everyone did to finish strong.”

SECs was the last meet for most of the team. However, Brown will dive at the regional qualifying meet on Thursday, March 18th, and Parker will swim both the 200 freestyle and 100 fly at states on March 26th and 27th in Holland. Parker hopes to place in the top eight in his events at the state meet.

“We had hoped against hope that we might be able to sneak in a relay [to states] over the weekend, but it was just too tall of a mountain to climb with this shortened season and only 14 guys at the meet,” Thompson said.

Though the season was shortened and the team was smaller and had less upperclassmen than usual, Parker said he still enjoyed it.

“I missed having a full season, but I am glad we were still able to compete and have fun as a team.”