The Tigers lap their competition in talent and dedication, breaking league records and placing overall in the top 16 for four events at state finals


If it is -25 degrees outside at 5:30 a.m. and Superintendent Timothy Jalkanen has not sent out an instant alert cancelling school, the boys are making their way to the pool deck. As the rest of FHS turns off their alarm clocks, the swimmers prepare themselves for two more hours worth of practice. This dedication is a clear reflection of the success the boys swim and dive team has had this year, breaking a total of five school and league records while placing in the top 16 at the DII State Finals.

For the Tigers it was senior captains Brant Cassidy, Landon Mikulenas and Mike Banner who stepped up to the plate for their team, leading them to a third straight Flint Metro League title in late February and on to states early in March.

“Leadership can make or break a team,” junior Austin Landis said. “I think the team’s mindset has changed from hoping to win to expecting to win. I think we have also changed how we practice. It used to be about working to make it back to the second day of Metros and now it’s making it back for state finals.”

Although the boys swim team has some catching up to do before it can achieve as many Flint Metro League championship wins as the girls team, they still dominated the league this winter, beating second place Ortonville Brandon by nearly 300 points, placing first in all but two events.

“Finishing first (at Metros) is a huge accomplishment,” Landis said. “We worked all season for that and to see all of the pieces come together was great.”

Not only did they rack up major points at Metros, but the Tigers also set league meet records in a total of four events, some of which had not been broken since the 70s.

“It’s nice to have finished the season with a record,” senior Mike Banner said. “I came into the season to get the (500-yard Freestyle) pool record but that didn’t happen so I guess a league record is half decent.”

Half decent, indeed; however the team’s success did not stop there. On March 7 and 8 the six state qualifiers traveled to Eastern Michigan University for the MHSAA Boys Division II Swim and Dive State Championship meet where sophomore Zach Miceli served as the Tigers only newcomer to the heightened level of competition.

“States was a different, more exciting meet than any we had all year,” Miceli said. “ We got to swim against other teams that were at our level and it was good to get pumped up for the more challenging competition.”

Miceli swam in two relays for the Tigers; butterfly in the 200-yard Medley Relay and teamed up with Cassidy, Zahne Macklin and Brent Nakkula in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay which earned them a spot on the varsity record board and an 11th place state championship medal.

Cassidy also found success individually at states, placing seventh overall in the 50-yard Freestyle and ninth in the 100-yard Freestyle. He currently holds the league and varsity school records for both of these events.

“Breaking five school records was really exciting,” Cassidy said. “It’s what we had been aiming to do since the end of last year and swimming at state finals was our main goal all season. We finished up how we wanted to which is really exciting.”