Chelsea’s standout senior Joey Mangner has capped a career that’s seen him win two MHSAA championship. s Mangner swam the fastest 50-yard freestyle time in Michigan this winter (20.78 seconds) to win the race at Saturday’s Southeastern Conference White championship meet and was part of three more victories and four school records total to earn the Michigan Army National Guard’s “Performance of the Week.”
Mangner also won the 100 freestyle (46.50) and swam on winning 200 medley (1:35.59) and 400 freestyle (3:12.10) relays as Chelsea finished second to Dexter, the reigning MHSAA champion in Lower Peninsula Division 2. Chelsea is ranked No. 3 in LPD3 and finished third last season, and Mangner has played a significant part in helping the program rise over his four seasons. He’s an eight-time conference champion and as a freshman helped the Bulldogs to their first league title since 1995. He’s an 11-time all-stater, with individual titles in the 50 as a sophomore and as anchor of the medley relay last season. He’s also earned All-America status in both of those events and is part of five Chelsea pool records in addition to the four school bests.
“Joey is an extremely gifted young man,” Chelsea Head Coach Dave Jolly said. ” He has the ability to do some of the most amazing things in the water. What is even more special is how humble he has stayed throughout all his acclaim. He is all about his team and watching them all be successful. It has been a true honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him over these past four years.”
“Out biggest rival was Dexter, in conference at least, and we knew they had a lot more depth than us, a lot more people, and we knew it would be hard to compete team-wise and scoring wise,” Mangner said of the league meet. “Going especially into my senior year, with all the other seniors, we wanted to do the best we could. It’s probably one of my favorite meets. At the state meet level, it’s more about being super serious, super on. This (league meet), being at home, knowing the teams close to us, it’s more of a fun meet, for me at least. I was trying to have as much fun as I could have with it and finish off the league as best I could.”
“When I think about last year, there was a lot of pressure on me,” Mangner stated. “I had won the 50 as a sophomore, and coming back my junior year as the defending champ, I had all the pressure. Going into this year, I can’t do anything that isn’t better than last year, and that takes a little weight off my shoulders.”
“It just shows if you just try hard, try your best at something, you can do whatever you want to achieve,” Mangner said on the Chelsea swim team rise in performance. “In the offseason, I didn’t swim as much as other guys did – I still practiced, but I didn’t go to every single meet – so it’s just exciting to be one of the better swimmers to come out of Chelsea.”
“I did water polo all four years as well, and I tried track my sophomore year but I didn’t like that too much, Mangner stated discussing his Chelsea sports career. “But I like to play pretty much any sport. If basketball season wasn’t the same as swim season, I definitely would’ve given basketball a try, and I also think baseball is fun.”
“It definitely would be fun to win the medley again,” Mangner said discussing his dream finals finish. “Coming back from last year, I’d hopefully love to be the champion in the 50 free. I’m looking at the 100 (free) more so for getting the varsity record; I’m not too worried what place I get in the 100. One of our relays, the 200 or 400 free, we’re going to stack on them and go for a state (LP Division 3) record. For the 50 I’ve tied the D3 record so I would love to get that.”
Mangner intends to swim collegiately next season and likely will choose between Oakland University and University at Buffalo, with a course of study to be determined.