The Bruin swim team won the state meet this afternoon, Saturday, Feb 18. The team edged Glendale 213-182 to take home the first state title in Rock Bridge swimming.
The meet started out strong with a third place finish by the 200 medley relay team of sophomore Hannah Flanagan, senior Bri Noltie, senior Kate Walker, and sophomore Kortney Betz.
Next sophomore Chelsea Tatlow added a second place finish in the 200 freestyle. Soon after Flanagan and Noltie added an 11th and 12th place finishes, respectively, in the 200 individual medley as well as a 15th place finish in the 50 freestyle by Betz. This put the Bruins in fourth place going into the second half of the meet.
After the break the girls came out strong in the 100 butterfly with freshman Libby Walker, sophomore Lilly Salzer and Kate Walker finishing eighth, 13th and 14th, respectively. The next Bruin swimmers to compete were Libby and Kate in the 500-freestyle where they finished fourth and 14th, respectively.
Head coach Karen Steger said the 500-freestyle was a turning point in the meet. Libby’s third place finish gave them momentum that carried through to the next few events.
Next came the 200-freestyle relay, one of the most important events of the day since relays are worth double points. The team of sophomore Madeline Simon, Betz, Salzer and Tatlow finished an impressive third, catapulting Rock Bridge into a position to win.
“It was amazing. I knew after to 200-freestyle relay we would win because if the 100 back coming up,” Steger said. ” We just had to hold it together, and we did.”
Tatlow won the 100-back and Flanagan added a sixth place finish along with a 13 place finish by Simon. Immediately after, Noltie finished 11 in the 100 breaststroke.
This put Rock Bridge in the lead by 25 points, going into the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. As long as the relay team did not false start they would be state champions.
The team of Simon, Libby, Betz and Tatlow finished the meet with an exclamation point: they won the 400 freestyle relay to ensure the Bruins’ title of state champions.
“I was in shock; I couldn’t believe how it all came together,” Steger said. “I stood there watching the girls thinking there is no where else I’d rather be right now than coaching this team.”
To see how the girls got to the finals, look here.
By Thomas Jamieson-Lucy