Girls’ swim team blooms, takes first at City of Roses Invitational


Skyler Froese

Junior Ellie Flanagan swims freestyle laps in the Hickman pool during morning swimming practice in preparations for upcoming competitions.
[dropcap style=”flat”]T[/dropcap]he girls’ swim team took home its second consecutive piece of first place hardware Saturday, at the City of Roses Invitational in Cape Girardeau.
Their pool mates, the Hickman Kewpies, took second behind them, this time trailing by 16 points. RBHS secured 10 top-eight finishes in the meet.
“[RBHS] has a lot of talent; we have some new people that are swimming for [RBHS] that scored pretty well,” head coach Laura Wacker said. “[Freshman] Piper Osman is doing well. Lexi Peery, she’s not new. She’s a senior, but she’s coming around, too.”
Even with their abundance of talent, the team faced its fair share of challenges throughout. Peery said the air quality at the Central Municipal Pool was poorer than the team was used to.
She stated that this was especially hard on swimmers with asthma and other breathing complications, but it didn’t slow down the team enough to take first place from them.
“As a team, it represents us improving our swimming and being able to overcome anything that’s in our way,” Peery said. “I think that we’ll keep improving through the rest of the season.”
Peery also noted the challenges coming from competition. The meet hosted 26 schools and up to 120 swimmers in each event, with only the top 16 places earning points.
Wacker also spoke of the stiff competition, most notably from Poplar Bluff and Eureka, both of whom wore specialized, fast knee-length suits while her swimmers did not. Peery and her sophomore teammate Trisha Carver-Horner both saw some of their fiercest competition in the meet’s relays.
“The relays are really fun because I feel like everyone went their best time in the relays so I feel really good about that,” Carver-Horner said. “We maybe could have done a little better, but [RBHS] ended up winning, so that was pretty good.”
With only three meets left until state championships, the team hopes to continue their winning streak.
The boys’ team won their meet in Cape Girardeau, as well as their CoMo invitational, before proceeding to bring home a state title. Wacker hopes the girls’ string of wins will mirror their male counterparts when the weekend of Feb. 20 arrives.
As of Sunday, the Lady Bruins had at least one swimmer ranked in the top five across the state for each event. The team also currently boasts eight individual state qualifiers, one of which, senior Kelley Tackett, has qualified for every available event since her freshman year. Other qualifiers include defending medalists from 2015 State Championships. These statistics, and the teams consecutive wins, have bolstered Peery’s confidence for the last four weeks of the season and for their next meet on Saturday Jan. 30.
“I feel like we’re set up pretty good,” Peery said, “There are teams that are scared of us and they don’t know really what to expect and they should expect us to get first, but I can’t make any promises about that.”
Editor’s note: The author is a member of the girls’ swimming team.