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2017 Livingston County girls swimming preview: Brighton reloads

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For the first time in four years, girls swimming season will not feature Brighton’s Taylor Seaman, who ended her career by becoming the county’s undisputed best-ever swimmer by capturing her second and third state championships.

That said, there is still plenty of talent, especially at Brighton.

Under coach Jason Black, the Bulldogs expect to be just as good if not better, Black said, than they were last season when they placed seventh at the Division 1 state meet, as they return just about everyone with the exception of Seaman, who is now swimming at Brown University.

Led by Maddie Mince and under the tutelage of coach Trey Conner, Hartland is hoping for a big season in the new KLAA Gold Division while Howell also looks to improve from 2016.

Pinckney has a small team comprising of mostly freshmen, but the Pirates hope their new home in the Southeastern Conference will be kind in their first season.

Brighton

Coach: Jason Black

Conference: KLAA Gold

Last Season: 6-1, 1st in KLAA West (5-0)

Top Returners: Olivia Anderson (Sr.), Julianne Libler (Jr.), Lindsey Witte (So.), Megan Lubinski (Sr.), Kellie House (Sr.), Chloe Reed (Jr.), Jillian Gray (So.), Natalie Stafford (So.), Ellie Achatz (Fr.)

Outlook: The Bulldogs are perennially one of the state’s best teams, usually placing in the top 10 at the Division 1 state meet. Although they will be without three-time state champion Taylor Seaman, who won the individual titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, the Bulldogs are planning to be just as successful in 2017, and the preseason rankings by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association reflect that, as Brighton is No. 7. Led by a large cast of returning state qualifiers, a few stellar sophomores and a freshman with high expectations, Brighton seeks another top-10 finish at states.

Coach Jason Black: “I think when you see the preseason rankings and they have us at exactly the same spot we finished last year, that tells you a little something about how strong the top end of our team is. We have 22 swimmers and three divers, so we’re small … but by end of season, we’ll be real good.”

MORE: Top 5 preseason girls swimmers in Livingston County

Hartland

Coach: Trey Conner

Conference: KLAA Gold

Last Season: 3-2, 3rd in KLAA West (3-2)

Top Returners: Maddie Mince (Jr.), Olivia Nied (Jr.), Jordan Pierzynski (Jr.), Rachel Ceresa (Sr.)

Outlook: Hartland is coming off a year in which it placed third in the KLAA West and 24th at the Division 1 state meet. Although relatively young — the Eagles are graduating 13 seniors and welcoming in a baker’s dozen of freshmen — they are set to compete led by juniors Mince, Nied and Pierzynski.

Coach Trey Conner: “This year’s team is something special with their team spirit and competitiveness. The team and I are eager for the season to begin. We have 13 incoming freshmen, including 50-yard freestyle middle school state champion Marissa Harris. We are ready for the new conference and new competition. These are the teams we will be competing with at the state level.”

Howell

Coach: Kristyn Textor

Conference: KLAA Gold

Last Season: 2-3, 4th in KLAA West (2-3)

Outlook: No information provided

Pinckney

Coach: Laura Eibler

Conference: SEC White

Last Season: 0-6, 6th in KLAA West (0-6)

Top Returners: Megan Black (Jr.), Sarah Campbell (Jr.), Angie Wagner (Sr.), Jana Hummel (Jr.), AnnaLiese Singer (So.)

Outlook: Pinckney is back in the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1998, and that will be a welcomed change, although things aren’t necessarily going to get easier for the Pirates. They will still be up against some of the state’s top competition in schools like Dexter and Chelsea, which Pinckney has continued to square off against in duals throughout the years. The Pirates have only 18 girls, two of which are divers. So it will be a relatively small squad that is also mostly comprised of freshmen. However, Eibler is excited about the challenge and to begin building the program in its new conference.

Coach Laura Eibler: “We are pretty small. Hopefully, we will be competitive.”

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