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Kayla Douglas is churning for backstroke crown

David Goricki / The Detroit News

Livonia— Kayla Douglas wants to put girls swimming on the map at Livonia Franklin.

And she can help with that by bringing home a state title after finishing second behind Novi's Andrea VanderMey in the 100-yard backstroke last year.

"Swimming at Franklin has never been big, and I want to change that," said Douglas, a senior. "I'm the first girls swimmer in school history to be all-state and just the second to individually qualify for the state meet. I worked hard all summer at Club Wolverine to prepare for my senior year. Now, I'm just training with the high school team because I want to set an example, be a leader and set the tone."

Kevin Hafner has been coaching at Franklin since 2001, the last four years as head coach.

He's impressed with Douglas' work ethic.

"She's very focused and has a lot of confidence in what she does," Hafner said. "She made a commitment to the program by training with us. She had the strong belief she could make everyone else better and the kids have worked harder.

"I feel she has as good a chance as anybody else for the state championship (in 100 backstroke). She did everything possible to get ready for it."

Douglas trained five days a week last summer with Club Wolverine, leading to weekend meets. Now, she has worked hard during practice for her last chance at winning the ultimate prize.

And he main competition — again — is VanderMey, a sophomore.

"I'm not going into the state meet with that attitude," Douglas said. "You can't worry about other people or you'll lose focus on what you're trying to accomplish, which is swimming the best you possibly can. I race myself when I'm out there. You can't control what someone else is doing."

And, Douglas knows she has done everything possible to get ready for the Division 1 meet, Nov. 19-20 at Oakland University.

"Things are going great," she said. "My best time is 59.5, so I'm still 31/2 seconds off my time from state last year, but I still have time to drop significant time. I'm confident I'll have my best time at state."

Douglas, who has a 4.2 grade-point average, also has had a busy fall outside the pool.

Namely, recruiting.

She has visited Michigan State and Michigan, and last weekend went to Missouri, where she watched it upset No. 1 Oklahoma in football.

"The last three weeks have been absolutely insane with recruiting trips," said Douglas, who plans to study broadcast journalism. "I sat at the 50-yard line Saturday at Missouri. It was incredible. I have an upcoming trip at Northwestern, too."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101026/SPORTS05/10260366/Kayla-Douglas-is-churning-for-backstroke-crown#ixzz14HZO8rn2