By Megan Kelley
With two meets down and a division record of 1-1, the Lake Orion High School’s girls swim and dive team is looking to improve from last year and fight for the division title.
The ladies took on the OAA White for the first time in nearly ten years last year, going 3-3; the team is now looking to improve and hopes to obtain the top spot in the division.
In the first meet of the season, the ladies fell to the Oxford High School Wildcats with a score of 105-80.
“Oxford was our first meet and they have some very talented young ladies that are just a tad stronger than us and a few more (swimmers) than we do,” said head coach Darin Abbasse.
Coming off of their loss to Oxford, the team managed to narrowly defeat Bloomfield Hills on Sept. 5, 96.5-89.5.
In their meet against Bloomfield Hills, the ladies took first in eight of the 12 event categories.
Lauren Valentine, Olivia Cassise, Reagan Cassise and Riley Sieber took first place in the 200-yard medley relay.
Valentine also took place in the 200y individual medley and the 100y backstroke, Sieber snagged first place finish in the 50y freestyle and Regan Cassise finished first in the 100y butterfly.
The ladies grabbed a few more relay wins with the 200y freestyle relay team of Riley Sieber, Mikayla DeYoung-Laughlin, Paige Potter and Ella Sieber and the 200y freestyle relay team of Ella Sieber, Paige Potter, Lauren Valentine and Olivia Cassise both getting first place finishes.
Rounding out the Dragon’s first place finishes was Ella Sieber in the 500y freestyle.
“We had a great meet…against Bloomfield. It came down to the last relay and we were able to finish in first and third which put us over the number needed to have a victory,” Abbasse said.
Out of the 28 team members this year, five are seniors.
“With only having five seniors, it’s very young, so many of our swimmers are experienced age group swimmers but high school swimming is much different,” said Abbasse. “This year our swimmers are experienced but now the bigger the meet — some of them, their role has changed. They’re just not there to swim; the expectation is to be at that high level that they’re used to at the state championships, at the league championships and at the county championships.”
Though the team is young, they’re still hoping to perform well enough to secure a division title and have the team land somewhere in the top ten in Oakland County.
“My goal for them is hopefully to be battling for an OAA White division title. Because Oxford beat us, we have to rely on other teams within the division to maybe beat them,” Abbasse said. “If we can go with just one loss and they (Oxford) have one loss down the road — you know, we’re battling for it (the division title). But if they are undefeated but we can beat them at the league conference, we can be co-champions. That’s our goal, every year we set our goal to be league champions and it’s been a while since this team has done that.”
Looking forward to the rest of the season, Abbasee predicts some tough competition.
“Oxford, Bloomfield and Rochester, I believe those are our toughest dual meets which we’ve split already,” said Abbasse. “This week we swim Troy. I hear they have a good team so you just never know year to year… Swimming in the central part of Oakland County is very strong…we’ll be challenged every week but I think we have strong enough swimmers to overcome certain obstacles.”
The ladies travel to Troy High School on Thursday to take on the Colts. The meet begins at 6 p.m.