Girls’ swim. dive battles difficult practice conditions, falls to Blue Springs

Photo+by+Parker+Boone.

Photo by Parker Boone.

Anjali Noel Ramesh

On Jan. 23, the COMO girls’ swim and dive team, consisting of students from RBHS, Hickman High School and Battle High School, traveled to Blue Springs High School to compete against the Blue Springs swim team. It was their fourteenth meet of the season, and both varsity and junior varsity members participated in the competition.

Overall, the COMO team fell to Blue Springs, Hickman placed second with 166 points, RBHS at third with 153 points and Battle taking fourth with 24 points, scoring 343 points in total. The Blue Springs team made 432 points in all. In diving, points are determined based on the type and complexity of the dive. After a series of dives are performed, the diver is scored based on their success in each one and the degree of difficulty which is then added to a cumulative running score. The higher the number of points earned, the better the score. The swimming races are scored similarly, with points earned for every single swimmer in each event that they participate in.The meet was not without COMO personal victories, though. Awards for the individual swimmers and divers are posted in the left column.  

For sophomore varsity swimmer Lucy Riebe, who finished eleventh in the 100 meter freestyle race with a time of 1:15.95, seventh in the 100 meter backstroke with a 1:23.92 time, and participated in the 200 meter medley relay, the backstroke race was the most taxing. After a miscommunication nearly resulted in her missing the event completely, Riebe said maintaining a fast stroke consistently while swimming was a difficult standard to meet. She continued to push herself to do her best, though, and enjoyed the environment of the competition.

“For me, the most exhilarating part of [yesterday’s] meet was the few seconds of silence after I dove into the water,” Riebe said. “It really felt like the calm before the storm.”

Throughout the season, the teams faced challenges when preparing for competition. Head coach Taylor Birsa said there were often students who were ill and could not practice as much as the other girls, which hurt their performance in the long run. Additionally, mechanical issues at the Hickman High School pool, where the team practices, increased the lack of preparation time for the girls. The heater for the pool broke, resulting in extreme temperatures making in unable for the team to swim in, Birsa said. The issues with air quality within the pool environment also challenged practice productivity. 

“With the pool issues we honestly have to go with the flow,” Birsa said. “That is out of our control and we adjust our practices as best as we can.”

Sophomore varsity member Nathaly Lopez also said that the pool air quality was difficult to train in. She said, however, that having a team to practice with made the obstacles throughout the season less daunting. Lopez finished ninth in the 50 meter freestyle with a time of 31.57 seconds, fifth in the 100 meter breaststroke with a 1:29.60 time, swam in the 200 meter medley relay and in the 200 meter freestyle race.[penci_info_box _text=”Olivia Liddle placed second in the dive category with 412.15 points, and with her total improved her state score and broke the RBHS girls diving record set in 1989.
Leslie Barner, also in dive, placed fourth gaining 361 points and qualifying for the state competition. Gracie Ann Fraunfelder, another diver, finished with 337.65 points and Addy Lockett stood at 7th with 307.70 points.
” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-trophy” _use_line=”true” block_id=”penci_info_box-1580002745487″ _title=”Diving” icon_color=”#2bb673″][penci_info_box _text=”In the 200 Medley Relay, Lucy Riebe, Natalie Lopez, Danika Osman and Stella Wagner placed third with a time of 2:20.58.
Stella Wagner, Aidan Matteson, Dina Grafakos and Natalie Lopez swam in the 200 meter freestyle Relay and were fifth overall at a 2:19.50 time.
” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-trophy” _use_line=”true” block_id=”penci_info_box-1580002884345″ _title=”Swimming Relays” icon_color=”#2bb673″][penci_info_box _text=”In the freestyle section, swimmers participated in the 50 meter and 100 meter races.
In the 50 meter, Danika Osman finished third with a time of 28.54, Natalie Lopez swam a 31.57 time and placed ninth, and Dina Grafakos was eighteenth with a 36.17 new season best time.
In the 100 meter freestyle, Lucy Riebe placed eleventh with a time of 1:15.95, and Dina Grafakos swam a season best time of 1:22.55 and placed fourteenth.
Stella Wagner, the only competitor for the 100 meter fly race finished first at a time of 1:05.88.
The final two 100 meter races consisted of backstroke and breaststroke. Danika Osman placed third in backstroke with a time of 1:11.74 while Lucy Riebe placed seventh with a 1:23.92 time.
In the breaststroke competition, Stella Wagner placed fourth with a 1:24.08 time, Natalie Lopez following at fifth with a 1:29.60 time, and Aidan Matteson placed tenth with a time of 1:40.90.” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-trophy” _use_line=”true” block_id=”penci_info_box-1580002947899″ _title=”Swimming Individual Events” icon_color=”#2bb673″]“The season as a whole [helped me become] closer to people on the team and have fun,” Lope said. “I will take away the fact that not everyday is a win, but as long as I tried and my team supports one another it will all be OK.”

Riebe also said she will carry the memories she created with her friends on the team, even in the future after the season is complete. She said the girls encourage her and help her become more competitive to achieve her personal goals for the sport.

“I push myself so that I can drop my times and be faster,” Riebe said. “I’m motivated to be better than I was yesterday.” 

What do you hope for the team’s practice conditions in the future? Let us know in the comments below.