Michael MacGillivray seems like the type of person who when he thinks something could happen, they go out and help make it happen. The Skyline senior swimmer splashes up confidence because he not only believes in himself but has put in the time and effort where he knows he can back it up.
So it’s hard not to believe him when he says: “After looking at the times and crunching the numbers it looks like we have the best chance the school has ever had to win a state title in swimming.”
Without coming right out and saying it – OK, in a way he did – MacGillivray believes the Eagles will make school history on Saturday at Eastern Michigan University. He believes that Skyline will win the Division 1 MHSAA Swimming and Diving championships. Not only because he believes in himself – which he clearly does – but that he believes even more in his teammates.
“I’m looking forward to the results,” he says. “Everyone is going to do their part. I’m not worried at all about that. We are strong this year.”
This dream of winning a state title is nothing new. MacGillivray tells a story about how a few swimmers such as David Cleason and Samuel Jyawook were swimming with Club Wolverine when they talked about which high school they wanted to go.
We’ll let Cleason pick up the story.
“Well, we were already in the Skyline district,” said Cleason, another standout senior swimmer for the Eagles. “Michael wasn’t but he decided to join us with the plan of helping make Skyline a swimming powerhouse. I’m really glad he decided to join us at Skyline.”
So is MacGillivray.
“Yeah, we’ve had a good four years, but this is the year to make it happen,” he says. “Everyone will do their part and it will fall into place. No doubt.”
It almost fell into place last season when the Eagles touched second at the state meet. As a sophomore, Skyline finished fourth – so they are moving in the right direction with only one more spot to go on the ladder.
“The only place next to go is first,” he says.
They seem well on their way to making that happen and MacGillivray will be one of the guys out in front of the pack.
The Eagles dominated the very competitive SEC league meet late last month at Skyline finishing with 532.5 points, well ahead of second-place Pioneer (443). And MacGillivray was a big reason why, winning two individual races and swimming on two winning relays.
MacGillivray won the 200 individual medley, taking first place in 1:49.97. Teammate David Cleason, another senior, touched second in 1:52.35 to give Skyline a one-two punch in the IM. MacGillivray won his second individual race of the day with a first-place finish in the breaststroke in 55.23.
MacGillivray, Cleason, Sam Konigsberg and Kyle Tschannen won the medley relay in 1 minute, 34.53 seconds. And the Skyline foursome of Tschannen, Samuel Jyawook, Cleason and MacGillivray took first in the 400 free relay in 3:08.67.
At this Saturday’s state meet, MacGillivray plans on swimming the IM – where they (MacGillivray and Cleason) plan on going one-two – and the breaststroke along with the two relays.
MacGillivray, who is seeded first in both individual races, finished fourth in the IM at last year’s state meet at 1:51.77. Cleason was second at last year’s state finals in 1:50.18. MacGillivray also was fourth in the breaststroke in 57.20.
“I think in the breaststroke it will come down to me and Max Chen (Troy) and in the IM it will come down to me, David or Max if he swims that event,” MacGillivray says. “I’ve been racing Max since I was 12 years old so I know him really well.”
While the Eagles have had an incredibly successful season it hasn’t come without a few waves in the water. But there are always bumps in the road and the Eagles have responded by working hard, getting better and staying focused.
The low point was a loss to Holland West Ottawa back in January – their only loss of the season. But since then the Eagles have been flying high with an all-clear for Saturday in Ypsilanti.
“It was a good down because it refocused us on our goals,” MacGillivray said.
MacGillivray first joined the Saline Swim Team when he was 8 years old. He played basketball in middle school but swimming was clearly his sport.
“I’m pretty competitive especially in the pool and the classroom,” he says.
That competiveness landed him a scholarship to U-M, home to one of the best swimming programs in the country.
“The cool thing is there are already a lot of swimmers from the state of Michigan who go there who I already know,” he said. “I already feel like part of the team. When I went there for my official visit everything just clicked. And even though my house is only 10 minutes down the street it still felt like it was a new home to me. It felt right. It felt natural.”
Winning the state title on Saturday also will feel right. It will feel natural. And if everyone does their part, the Eagles will be making history. And that just feels perfect.