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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson girls swimming claims Federal League title

  • Championship gold is back in style for Jackson swimming and diving.

    With a resounding 109-70 win over Lake, the girls swimming and diving team wrapped up an unbeaten Federal League season last weekend to return to the top of the league and set itself up for the sectional tournament in fine fashion.

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  • Championship gold is back in style for Jackson swimming and diving.
    With a resounding 109-70 win over Lake, the girls swimming and diving team wrapped up an unbeaten Federal League season last weekend to return to the top of the league and set itself up for the sectional tournament in fine fashion.
    With nine individual-event winners and multiple relay victories, the Polar Bears easily outpaced the Blue Streaks. Individual event winners in the meet included Taylor Thomas (200 freestyle), Kaitlyn Daiger (200 individual medley), Taylor Wiseman (50 freestyle), Jayci Kuhn (diving), Jenna Berg (100 butterfly), Abby Lyall (500 freestyle) and Victoria Addis (100 backstroke).
    With a 10-2 overall record in addition to their unblemished league slate, the Polar Bears were solid outside the Federal League as well. Head coach Matt Ziders pointed to the team's depth as a reason for its success.
    “A combination of great top-end talent and depth,” Ziders said when asked about the key to the championship run. “In order to win a Federal League title, it is so important for the second and third swimmers in the heat to do their job and score big points. Because we were able to do that in our dual meets, the girls found a lot of success. Our divers also stepped up to the plate and provided big points for us during our closest meets.”
    The win over Lake may have been the final step toward reclaiming the title, but Ziders referenced a 99-86 win against top league rival Boardman on Jan. 18 as the high point of the regular season. The Spartans, a perennial power in the Federal League, were clearly the biggest challenge on the schedule, and coming through with a narrow win required a balanced, consistent effort across all events for Jackson.
    “Our win against Boardman was probably the highlight of the season. We knew going into the year that they would be our biggest competition, and we came out with a 99-86 win,” Ziders said. “Everyone stepped up when they needed to and provided crucial points that helped lead us to a victory.”
    With the league crown in hand, the Polar Bears can check one accomplished goal off their list and shift their focus to the sectional tournament and beyond. As they try to prepare physically and mentally for the postseason, team captains Chase Kinney, Krystin Tondra and Alexandria Pallotta will continue to be important in keeping the team focused and on point. Ziders also gave a nod to divers Madison Ridgway and Jayci Kuhn for their contributions over the course of the year.
    Like all of their rivals, the Polar Bears are now tapering in their training, reducing their distances and doing what they can to ensure that they are rested, healthy and ready for the postseason, where the margin for error is much smaller than in the regular season.
    Page 2 of 2 - “With our dual meet season complete, our focus turns to the championship season,” Ziders said. “We are looking forward to seeing everyone's hard work pay off as they begin to rest. As a team, we have set ourselves up to place very well at the sectional and the district meet this season.”
    If they can replicate the efforts that took them to the top of the Federal League, the Polar Bears could find themselves hoisting more hardware in the weeks ahead.