BY DAN STICKRADT
LAKE ORION — In every way, Lake Orion has performed more like a seasoned group in the pool this season.
The Dragons’ boys swim and dive team is currently in second place in the OAA White Division and has posted numerous quality performances this winter.
The Dragons are 7-1 overall in dual meets with the sole loss coming against OAA-White foe Farmington/Harrison Unified. Lake Orion also captured the title at the Saginaw Heritage Invitational and Lake Orion Invitational to go along with a runner-up finish at the Fenton Relays.
“We in a similar situation of last year,” reminded Lake Orion coach John Jess, who swam at Haslett High School near Lansing and was a multi-event state qualifier for his school. “Last year we beat Farmington/Harrison in a dual, but they beat us at the league meet and we shared the league title. This year, Farmington/Harrison beat us in a dual, so we’ll have to beat them at the league at (the end of February).
“I think we’re a better team, though, than we were last season at this time. We’re more mature. We didn’t graduate many kids. Last season we only had two seniors and we have most of our top kids back, plus a very good freshman diver,” continued Jess. “Last year we were kind of young. This year we’re older. I hope we have more kids pick it up (down the stretch) and get faster. We have some kids that are better than they were last year and some others that are swimming roughly the same times. But there’s still time. We have a lot of the bigger meets coming up where we hope to do well.”
Sophomore Zahir Selem, senior captains Tanner Robertson and Avery Womack and junior Evan Lindquist have led the Dragons this season. Selem, Robertson and Lindquist all qualified for the Division 1 state finals last season in individual events.
Juniors Zack Seeds and Daniel Reimchen and sophomore Rob Corless are also back and have been consistent performers for the Dragons.
Over in diving, freshman Alex Brent has made a lasting impression on the prep circuit as a title challenger already. Junior Alex Perry just missed qualifying for the state finals last season and hopes to give the Dragons two state qualifiers in diving this season.
“I think (Alex Brent) will not only be one of the top divers at the county and league meet, but in the state as well. He doesn’t dive like a freshman,” said Jess. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes in the top-16, maybe top-eight at the state meet. He’s very talented.”
Last year the Dragons suffered a one-year hiccup in terms of not scoring at the state finals. The Dragons have multiple top-10 and top-20 state finals finishes over the years but did not crack the scoring column at the Division 1 state meet last March.
That’s a mishap that Jess hopes his crew will remedy this season.
“I think we’ll score this season. We have a few guys that I think can qualify and get into the top 16 at state,” said Jess. “That’s the goal at the end of the season.
“Right now we’re concentrating on getting faster and having some good (performances) at the county and league meet,” he added. “We want to be peaking come the state meet.”