Chelsea Girls Swim And Dive Finish 10th In State

Eastern Michigan University- The 2017 state of Michigan swim and dive state championships took place on Saturday, the 18th and the Chelsea Bulldogs girls swim and dive team sent 10 of their team to participate in the preliminaries on Friday and the finals. Coached by Dave Jolly, the girls competed hard for a 10th place finish in the Division 3 state championship.

The girls were represented and placed as follows: 12th grade: Jordan Fannin. 200 Medley Relay, placed 19th. 11th grade: Angelia Daman. Diver. All-State finish 7th. 11th grade: Rheana Grudzinski. 200 Medley Relay, placed 19th. 400 Freestyle Relay All-State 8th. 10th grade: Melina Almhiemid. Diver. placed 18th. 10th grade: Kauri Fields. 200 Free Relay All-State 7th. 10th grade: Alexis Nelson. 50 Free All-State 6th. 100 Free All-State 5th. 200 Free Relay All-State 7th. 400 Free Relay All-State 8th. (4-time All-State) 10th grade: Olivia Olk. 200 IM 16th. 100 Butterfly 18th. 200 Free Relay All-State 7th. 400 Free Relay All-State 8th. (2-time All-State). 10th grade: Olivia Prodin. 200 Medley Relay 19th. 50 Free 29th. 200 Free Relay All-State 7th. 400 Free Relay All-State 8th. (2-time All-State). 10th grade: Abby Robbins. 200 Medley Relay 19th. 100 Breaststroke 14th. 10th grade: Aleksa Skiotys. Swim alternate.

Each girl can only participate in 4 events and must go through a lot of stiff competition to achieve the right to even compete with the other schools and their teams. Cranbrook Kingswood was the top finisher in the D3 state with 292 points. Chelsea was one of only 3 other teams in the top 10 that were not private schools.

Alexis Nelson walked away as the only 4 time/4 medals stand all-stater and is just a sophomore.  As a freshman, she etched her name in the Chelsea record books by breaking the 50 free and broke it again this year at the Zeeland meet. She was also the team MVP as a freshman last season.

“I don’t really think about it,” Nelson humbly said referring to being all-state 2 years in a row. “That is a title that either humbles you or gives you a big head. All I know is that when I touch the wall and look at that scoreboard it’s rewarding knowing that 20 plus hours of swimming and lifting pays off.  But without the support of my coaches, my teammates, my family, and the swimming community I could not have achieved that title 2 years in a row.”

Fannin was the only senior from the young team to go to states this year and will be continuing her illustrious career at Western Illinois next year. She just recently signed her National Letter Of Intent.

“It was really amazing to compete at state meet level the past four years,” she said. “It was frustrating not knowing how I could’ve done had I not gotten injured but it gave me a chance to step back and watch my teammates really grow as athletes and people. (Coach) Jolly has taught us to make an effort to exemplify great sportsmanship and it seemed like the other girls at the state meet were brought up with the same ideals.”

It was such an amazing experience,”  Rheana Grudzinski said of her experience at state. “Seeing the passion and fire in everyone’s eyes as they swam, it was just incredible. The coaches were all so emotional and everyone was so supportive of one another because we were all there for the same reason. And knowing this is what you worked hard for, it pays off.” 

Angelia Daman was one of two divers for Chelsea. She finished 7th in the state and couldn’t have been more happy about it. Going into the beginning of the season her goal was to make the top 16 in states. Walking into states on day 2 her goal was changed up and she was intent on making the top 8. She had put in a lot of hard work to achieve her goal as she worked hard all summer and all 15 weeks of the swim season and it paid off for her as she was competing at the state level for the first time. . 

To be all-state is just unimaginable,” Daman stated excitedly. “ Being able to compete at the state level was amazing. It was just so unbelievable to be around such talented athletes. When I was walking into states it allowed me to realize that all the time I put into getting there paid off. And it was so worth it. I walked into states confidently with my dives and being there just to have fun. I’m proud of all the Chelsea girls who competed along side of me. I am thankful for the support from all the coaches and my teammates this season.”

Chelsea swim and dive is very competitive every year as the well-respected Coach Jolly has built it into an elite program. And although many girls will be graduating and leaving the team, the underclassmen will be welcoming many young newcomers next season and the Bulldogs will be hoping to make another big splash at states next season.

Editors note: I would like to thank Alexis and Meredith Nelson for some of the information contained in the article.

coach jolly talks with one of his swimmers