GIRLS SWIMMING: Lake Orion aiming again for top-10 waters | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS SWIMMING: Lake Orion aiming again for top-10 waters

| October 10, 2016 | Comments (0)



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LAKE ORION — The sign of a quality program is not always a one-year wonder highlight, but consistency over many seasons.

That is exactly where Lake Orion’s girls swimming and diving program stands today after veteran coach Darin Abbasse first helped launch the program back in 1998.

The Dragons have scored points at the Class A/Division 1 state meet in 13 out of their first 18 seasons, including eight top-20 state meet finishes and three straight top 10 performances.

Lake Orion was ninth in both 2015 and 2013 and a career-best seventh at the 2014 D-1 state meet. Year No. 19 hopes to follow in the same paths as recent campaigns.

“I think we’ve built it up over the years where I feel we can be a top 10 team in the state,” said Abbasse, a former swimmer at Oakland University back in the 1980s. “That’s always the goal. I remember our first year we scored at the state meet with Lauren LeBrun. We’ve come a long ways since then.”

LeBrun scored at the state finals in both 2000 and 2001, the Dragons’ third and fourth seasons, respectively. Lake Orion climbed up to 12th overall back in 2011 and now are coming off a trio of top-10 state meet finishes.

Lake Orion is also off to a promising start in 2016, posting a 2-2 dual meet record in the talent-laden OAA Red Division. The Dragons have also won the Wayne State Relays for the third straight season and outscored the field at the Waterford United Clash Relays.

At the prestigious Oakland County Championships Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Lake Orion finished a fine seventh out of over 30 schools after collecting 138 points.

“If we can develop a fourth swimmer for our relays, I think we’ll be able to finish in the top 10 again. We have a nice core of swimmers from the state meet with some improving young girls on our (roster),” noted Abbasse. “It will depend on how far our younger swimmers come around because we have three girls back that scored at the state meet.”

Lake Orion only graduated one key swimmer, Kirstyn Abbasse, from last year’s state-meet contingent and have upgraded its entire roster.

Sophomore Claire Abbasse, the coach’s youngest daughter, finished second in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle at last year’s D-1 state finals. Seniors Zoe Quinn and Sarah Hennings also swam legs on relays that placed in the top-16 at last year’s state meet.

At the county meet, the aforementioned trio all placed in various events and are joined by junior Hannah Quinn, sophomore Emma Quinn, sophomore Emily Diener, junior Elaina Ritt, freshman Olivia Cassise, senior Rachelle Pozzo and junior Colleen Campbell as quality performers — all whom are eyeing potential state-meet berths.

Seniors Lindsey Brent, Jessica Reimchen, Gillian Preuss, Lydia-Jane Thuss and Amanda Keller, juniors Savannah Papp, Meagan Buckner, Michaela Collins, Jenna Kessering, Berenice Carrillo, Elizabeth Choi and Jhena Gamache, and sophomores Brooklyn DenOuden and Ginger Johnson provide depth throughout various events.

“We hope to finish in the top three at our league again, top-10 at the county and top-10 at the state meet,” said Abbasse. “Those are realistic goals for us if we continue to work hard and develop enough over the course of the season.”

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