BY MATT McCLELLAND
After a successful regular season campaign for the Arthurs Middle School swim and dive team, the top athletes headed to the state meet. Hosted annually by Holt High School in late January, the MISCA (Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association) meet brings together the best middle school divers and swimmers for a two day competition. This year’s meet was held Jan. 27-28.
Friday night was all about the divers. In order to compete, the divers had to meet two qualifying criteria. First, they had to exceed an average of 150 points as calculated from their two best meets from the season. Second, from that list, only the top scoring 18 boys and 18 girls are permitted to participate.
Powering off a one meter springboard, the same apparatus used in high school, each diver performed six dives of their choice in front of seven judges. Samantha Plough and Jane McClelland, both seventh graders, had the opportunity to strut their stuff and they didn’t disappoint. Plough, after competing in club level gymnastics for several years, has just made the transition to diving, having been on a diving board for only a few months. Relying on strength and outstanding body control honed in the gym, she earned a 15th place medal at the state meet, a fabulous result for a brand new diver.
Plough’s teammate McClelland has been diving at the club level for several years, and that training was on full display. She executed each of her six dives cleanly, getting consistently good scores from the judges, resulting in a fourth-place medal. It was an exciting night for both girls.
Returning to the pool deck on Saturday was a very different scene. Rather than 36 total athletes competing one at a time, there were now hundreds of swimmers, competing in eight lanes strong. It was loud, crowded, hot, and exciting! All of the competitors had met or swam faster than the state qualifying time for each of their events. A swimmer may compete in up to four total events, with no more than two of them being individual. [Read more…]