There is a group of Dexter swimmers who will graduate this year only knowing one thing – winning. The four-peat is complete as the Dexter boys’ swimming and diving team cruised to a fourth-straight Division 2 state title on Saturday at Eastern Michigan University.
Dexter coach Michael McHugh, in his 13th year as head coach of the Dexter dynasty, had seven state qualifiers returning from last year’s championship team. Experience, talent, hard work, outstanding coaching and senior leadership go along way – in this case all the way to the top.
The Dreadnaughts, who built an early lead in the meet and never looked back, finished with 239 points. Birmingham Groves was a stroke or two behind in second place with 203 points followed by Seaholm (181.5), Midland Dow (162.5), Grosse Pointe South (149) and Rochester Adams (138).
The Dreadnaughts started the meet with a strong opening splash – by taking second place. The team of sophomore Clayton Kinnard, senior Niklas Eberly, junior Paul Schaefer and junior Tanner Sharp finished second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 35.11 seconds. The Dreadnaughts finished a stroke behind Birmingham Groves who touched in 1:34.70.
Still, 34 points was a good opening volley.
Senior Casey Dolen came in second place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:40.58. Eric Hieber of WL Western took first in 1:38.92.
Kinnard was able to grab some points in the 200 IM. The sophomore finished in eighth place with a time of 1:58.07.
The Dreadnaughts sprinted into a big move to the top in the 50 freestyle. Eberly touched first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.40 seconds to bring his team 20 points. Junior Tanner Sharp took seventh place to bring home 12 more points for Dexter.
In diving, freshman Cole Warren took sixth with 384.80 points. Warren’s splash gave Dexter another 13 points.
Through diving, Dexter had 107 points, 17 better than second-place Groves.
Eberly returned to the winner’s circle for the second time in the 100 butterfly. He finished with a winning time of 47.79 to add 20 more points to the pile.
The Dreadnaughts turned in another first-place finish in the 100 freestyle as the Dreads were clearly rolling. Dolen went 46.01 to just out touch Luke Lezotte of Dow (46.03).
The Dreadnaughts finished second in the 200 freestyle relay. The team of Sharp, Dolen, sophomore Michael Baumann and junior Luke Sayler were runner-up with a time of 1:25.34.
In the backstroke, Kinnard finished 15th with a time of 54.21.
Sharp put in another huge showing in the breaststroke with his fifth-place finish time of 58.24. Schaefer touched 15th with a time of 1:01.50.
The Dreadnaughts capped off the day in the winner’s circle before celebrating in the big winner’s circle. The team of Eberly, Baumann, Kinnard and Dolen finished first in 3:06.84 in the 400 freestyle relay.
A fitting ending for a team that has made winning routine.