Lady Bruins place third at City of Roses Invitational


A swimmer representing RBHS competes in the 100 yard backstroke at the ‘Last Chance’ meet Nov. 9, 2013. Photo by Karina Kitchen

Skyler Froese

The 2017 City of Roses Invitational did not bloom in the same stunning nature as the same meet last year for the RBHS girls’ swim team. The meet took place on Jan. 20-21 in Cape Girardeau, and the Lady Bruins came in third place, trailing over 100 points behind crosstown rival, Hickman High School (HHS).
On Friday, junior Caroline Stevens stole fourth place in the one-meter diving event. The next day, the team struggled to assert its ability in the middle distance freestyle events. While senior Ellie Flanagan placed second overall in the 500-yard freestyle, no RBHS swimmer earned any points in the 200-yard event. The sprint freestyle events show more consistency, particularly from sophomore Piper Osman, who placed ninth in the 50-yard freestyle and 11th in the 100-yard distance. Osman, while still young, shows growth for the team. In the 50-yard and 100-yard she has dropped .1 seconds and .6 seconds, respectively, from her performances last year.
“After the COMO Invite, I figured out that i have a real shot of placing top 8 in state but in order to do so I’d have to push myself to a level that I hadn’t reached before. I’ve been training more constantly and I’ve come to practice with a better mindset as I have my eyes set on that state podium,” Osman said. “This meet was a checkpoint meet for me and I really wanted to do well to show that I’ve progressed over the last two weeks.”
The 200-yard individual medley was packed with local talent, as all three schools placed a swimmer in the top eight. RBHS junior Nicole Williams came in fourth, behind training mates Brittany Wen and Lena Coon, both HHS students. Similar to the 200-yard freestyle, the Lady Bruins failed to place within the top 10 in the 100-yard butterfly. The best finish for RBHS in the 100-yard backstroke came from junior Kate Forward, who took ninth overall. However, RBHS finished the individual events strong, with Williams winning the event, and Flanagan and Ellie Peery taking fifth and sixth place respectively.  
Relays are typically a point of strength for the team. The 200-yard medley relay came in fifth, and the 200-yard freestyle touched in ninth place. The 400-yard freestyle relay was the team’s best finish, coming in at second place. Freshman Ansley Barns swam for both the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays, but the result of the final event was far more memorable for her.
“Personally, the swim that stood out to me that most was the 400 free relay. We were in lane five and Hickman was in four, so being next to each other was so fun to begin with,” Barnes said. “The most fun part was the very end of the race when Hickman got first and we got second. Everyone from all three teams were by our lanes and cheering so much for us.”
All three high schools training together is no new occurrence, but as HHS shows an upward trend in performance, competition on the team has gotten steeper. But even as the cutthroat state championship meet looms, RBHS swimmers can still relish the friendship and competitive edge that training with other teams provides.
“It makes it’s a lot more fun I think, because it’s one thing to beat people that train at a different place and with different coaches but for us we get to compete and see who worked the hardest and capitalized off of the training the most,” Osman said.
This year, getting to see the end result of training applied to far less of the team than usual. Though the most noticeable absence were from high point earners juniors Ellie Zwiefel and Bettie Logan, the Lady Bruins’ roster is a little over half as large as it was for the same meet last year.
“For our three teams it made it a more ‘club’ based roster, meaning a majority of the girls do club swimming which made it more competitive but at the same time it was a lot more serious than last year in the sense that it was less of a team bonding experience and more of a focused meet,” Osman said.
Because of these absences, Barnes does not believe that the third place result will be indicative of the team’s postseason performance. Barnes still has high hopes for the fully assembled and rested squad when it comes time for state.
“I think the result of this meet it really a good sign for the end of the season,” Barnes said. “Yes, we did get third, but we were also missing some important and fast people. So, I truly believe that when we are all together at the end of the season, great things are going to happen.”
How do you think the team can improve for future meets? Comment below and let us know.