Swimmers top personal records at last chance meet

Thomas Jamieson-Lucy

Rock Bridge and Hickman girls swim team members dive off the starting blocks during the last chance swim meet Feb. 11 Photo By Shawn Crouch
The swim team competed today in its final meet of the season before post-season begins next Saturday, Feb. 18 at Hickman Pool.
The “last chance” meet provided swimmers a final opportunity to qualify for state. However, since the state lineup is already set, the meet was more for swimmers to prepare for the state meet next week, head coach Karen Steger said.
The meet “gave some of [the girls] a chance to qualify in off events that they don’t ever swim,” Steger said. “Most of them swam something just so that they could race a little bit before next week, but we didn’t want them to race too much.”
Although no Rock Bridge swimmers qualified for state in new events, several did post lifetime best times, including junior Clara Phillips in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, sophomore Sammy See in the 100 freestyle and freshman Emily Mertens in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Four of the Bruin’s top swimmers were not at the meet because they were competing for a club meet – Missouri Grand Prix, held at the Mizzou Aquatic Center. Although freshman Libby Walker and sophomores Lily Salzer, Chelsea Tatlow, Hanna Flanagan missed the last chance meet, Steger is not worried they missed out practicing against tough competition for next weekend’s big races. At the Grand Prix the four swimmers competed against some of the best from around the world.
The Missouri Grand Prix “will get [Salzer, Tatlow, Flanagan and Walker] in a racing frame of mind for the stiff competition we will face next weekend at the state championship,” Steger said.
The girls have set high goals for the state championship next weekend. Senior Bri Noltie said the team goals are to win each of the three relays and place higher than Rock Bridge ever has at state which they want to do by “winning it all.”
The Bruins will compete in the preliminaries of the state championship in St. Louis Friday Feb 17. Swimmers and relays that place in the top 16 of the preliminaries will go on to compete in the state finals Saturday Feb 18. As regular season comes to a close, the girls are more determined than ever to finish it with a splash.
“The biggest goal is for us to win,” Noltie said, “and to bring Rock Bridge back on the map.”
By Thomas Jamieson-Lucy