Swimming crushes competition, takes state championship

Skyler Froese

The boys’ swim team has brought a new meaning to “swim like a girl.” To follow up the ladies MSHSAA State Championship victory, the boys’ have earned their own state title. On Saturday, Nov. 7, the boys swam to a hard fought victory over the 66 other teams competing at the meet.
The Bruins ended with 239.5 points, a staggering 101 point lead over fellow Columbia team, Hickman. The squad was bolstered by top three finishes in all of their relays. While the team had no individual first place finishes, they were aided by their depth throughout the events, and boasted several top five finishes.
“The 100 [yard] breast with Caleb [Rhodenbaugh] and Zach [Lorson] was a fun one to watch since they both swam lights out.” Junior Jack Allen said. “The 500 [yard] free with Dane [Florea] and Alex [Tschopp] was a fun one too, and the 400 [yard] free relay at the end just capped it all off.”
Rhodenbaugh came in third overall in the 100 yard breaststroke, with his teammate Lorson coming in two one hundredths of a second after him. Rhodenbaugh thanks his coach’s training, his faith, and his team’s positive energy.
“I was surprised at prelims,” Rhodenbaugh said, “but coming into finals I was going to give it all I had and not look back, regardless of what place I got.”
His high place finish is what helped the bruins break Rockhurst’s 12 year winning streak for state championship. While the victory was sweet on its own, Rhodenbaugh said that breaking the Hawklets streak made winning the state title unforgettable, his teammate, Allen, concurs.
“Rockhurst is a very good swim team, and for sure won’t go away any time soon,” Allen said, “So getting to compete with them is pretty cool.”
Allen acknowledged the team’s success to their collective work ethic and the diversity of the Bruin’s skills. RB boasted a large team, and according to Allen, all of the boys were working to pull their weight and contribute to the team.
For swimming in Columbia, team isn’t always defined by school. All three high schools train at the same time, in the same pool with the same coach. Beyond this, many of the swimmers from the three schools swim year round together for the Columbia Swim Club. Allen said this made all of the boys close, and this makes Hickman’s second place finish all the more special.
“Going one-two really shows how good the swim program in the city of Columbia is,” Allen said. “The last 400 [yard] free relay when Rock Bridge knew they had to win it so Hickman could get second just shows how both schools want each other to succeed.”