After a season filled with unexpected challenges, the Plymouth Wildcats are looking forward to an exciting conclusion to their swim season next Saturday. Eight Wildcats will travel to Hudsonville, along with Head Coach Emily Weiner and Assistant Coach Lydia Plencner, to compete in the MHSAA D1 Championship Meet. The elite team is made up of Senior Captain Lilly Orris, Brady Kendall (JR), Bre Beringer (JR), Ella Pierzecki (JR), Lainey Weissman (SO), Ella Hornbacher (SO), Jackie Stoddard (SO) and Kendal Swatosh (FR). Plymouth has qualified to compete in all three relay events, and standout Brady Kendall qualified to swim the 50 and 100 freestyle, as well as the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
For the third year in a row, Plymouth junior Brady Kendall was KLAA conference champion in both individual events she swam at the meet in November, prior to the state mandated break from practice and competition. As a freshman, sophomore, and now as a junior, Kendall came out on top in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly events at the KLAA Conference Championship meet. This year, with the 16 team KLAA conference finals divided into four locations due to coronavirus restrictions, Kendall’s wins were even more remarkable. Despite not being able to swim head to head against the fastest swimmers in the conference as is the typical case during conference finals, Kendall out raced all swimmers across all four locations from the 16 schools to win the 50 freestyle in an All American consideration time of 23.22 and to win the 100 butterfly in an All American consideration time of 54.53. Kendall’s 50 freestyle set a new Plymouth team record lowering her own previous record, and more notably set a new pool record at Northville High School, a record previously set by Northville standout Ava Ohlgren 15 years ago. Kendall’s 100 butterfly time tied her personal best and was over a second and a half faster than the second place finisher.
Kendall, who holds the majority of the Plymouth team records, many pool records in pools across the state, and who was All American in the 50 freestyle as a freshman and All American in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly as a sophomore, is looking forward to the State Meet. Kendall has had solid performances in the State Meet in the past two years placing in the top five each year in both individual events.
Kendall’s coach Emily Weiner says she thinks this will be Brady’s year. Last year she began the season recovering from mononucleosis and had to deal with illness during both the Conference and State meets. Weiner says that despite the impact on training that the coronavirus has had, Kendall is ready to race. Coach Weiner describes Brady as a great swimmer who works hard, is focused on constantly improving her technique, and has the mindset to win. Weiner says Kendall is also a great teammate who understands what it means to be part of a team and strive towards team success, while still enjoying having fun with and supporting her teammates.
“These girls have been resilient. They have faced every challenge placed before them with determination, understanding and grace beyond their years. While this season is certainly different than we all imagined, we count ourselves lucky to have the chance to compete and continue to grow as a team. I am also confident that this group of athletes are prepared to continue to overcome obstacles and find great success in their final meet of the season. No matter what, it will be an exciting meet to watch,” Coach Weiner.
The Championship meet can be streamed live on the NFHS Network next Saturday, January 16th.