Girls Swim and Dive Sends 6 to States This Weekend


Photo By Stephanie Hardesty

Anna Brian, Journalism

Six swimmers from East will be competing at the MHSAA 2021 State Finals. The entire team finished fourth in the conference this year.

Ashlyn Houtman is a 15-year -old freestyle swimmer.  “To make a team, [it] requires everyone cheering each other on and supporting each other,” she says. 

Houtman said there is extra work to prepare for the conference meet each year, “We aren’t doing extra practices, however they’re easier and they’re made to help heal our muscles after using them for the whole season.”  

She explained how conferences work  for swimmers, “There’s two days of conferences. The first day everyone swims, and the second day only the people that have scored top 16 will swim the second day.”

Houtman swims the 500 freestyle and the 200 and 400 freestyle relay. She’s 5th overall in the conference in that event and she’s 6th overall in the conference for the 100 backstroke. This was the first year Houtman has swam in a 2-day meet. 

People have many different ways of preparing for a meet, but for Houtman its stretching out before every race and arms up before she swims. 

Riley Scheloske is in  her final year of her high school swimming career. “I prepare for a meet by listening to my ‘Fire Up’ playlist and I take in deep consideration about the events I’m swimming,” Riley says, “I have a few weird things I do like laying everything out the night before and trying on all of my suits to double check that they all fit.”

 Both swimmers agreed that for meets, they feel more excited than nervous. 

Scheloske is a distance swimmer as she has high endurance and swims the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, which is her favorite and what she thinks is her best stroke. Her places in the conferences include 10th in 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 500 freestyle. She also competes in relays.

Swimmers have “Fire Up” dinners the night before meets which include team bonding and time with their “Swim Sister”. Swim sisters are partnered up between Seniors and underclassmen, they give each other gifts as a little good luck. After that sometimes host a team sleepover and had a “shave party” where they would exfoliate and shave head to toe to be ready and fast for the meet. 

Coach John Burch is a history teacher at Millennium Middle School and has been coaching for 20 years in South Lyon alone. 

Stacking the perfect lineup is the dream for each coach. Coach Burch prepares one by attempting to put a lineup to win every meet, but sometimes athletes need a break from some events they’re in. He says he tries to move girls around and have them swim different events so they can find out what they’re best at. 

The Conference Meet is the pinnacle of their season, besides the State Finals.

“We prepare for meets by swimming fast in practice. If you never go all out in practice you will not be able to handle a meet,” he says. “We want this to be the culminating experience of the year. Our main focus has been swimming the fastest we can at this meet.”

He said that his final words of encouragement to the team would be that they have done all of the work that they’ve needed to succeed throughout the season and they are ready to swim at the best time of the year, today.

Coach Burch is excited and anxious as he feels the team is going to swim at their best.

“We don’t have the same numbers as some of the other teams or the same number of girls and they have an advantage there, but I’m confident that the girls that we have are going to swim fast,” Burch said.