It was a season hindered by mother nature. Because of the snowstorm that hit Columbia two weeks before, the girls swimming and diving team could not compete in three of their big meets. Additionally, the team also had many practices cancelled due to bad weather. However, the Bruins did not let the weather discourage their hopes to compete in the state championship. On Friday, Feb. 21, the team traveled 100 miles to St. Peters, Mo. representing RBHS. Senior Sammy See said this state meet showed all the hard work the team put in.
“I think the team did really well. We had a lot of best times for the season and for the most part, everyone was racing their hearts out,” See said. “I think the idea that we were at state made everyone swim a lot faster than they normally would.”
After the preliminaries were completed on Friday, sophomore Kelly Tackett started off the final rounds winning the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:49:93, almost three seconds better than everyone else. She then won her second state title in 500 freestyle with a time of 4:58:95. Tackett also joined See, junior Athea Felton, and sophomore Alexis Peery for an eighth-place finish in the 200 freestyle team relay. Felton competed in two consolation heats. She took 13th in the 50 freestyle at 25.20 and 16th in the 100 freestyle at 54.21.
RBHS ended up with a total of 89 points, finishing 12th among 49 teams. For her performance in the meet, Tackett was named Swimmer of the Year by the Missouri Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. Tackett said the season could not have ended in a better way.
“It’s great to be able to represent my team from the top of the podium, and to represent RBHS as swimmer of the year,” Tackett said. “The whole team has worked so hard this year, and it’s fabulous our hard work paid off in the state level.”
The Missouri Swimmer of the Year also said the team was not bothered by the cancelled practices and meets because they were able to practice by themselves during the time.
“Even though many practices were cancelled, the swim coach sent workouts we could complete at home, and offered to write sets for swimmers who could make it to the pool,” Tackett said. “We really showed our strength as a team in that time because so many people took advantage of the opportunity to get better on their own rather than simply letting the season slip through the snow days.”
See said the three schools in Columbia worked together as a team. She said it was nice to see the teams help each other out rather than treating each other like rivals.
“Since Battle, Hickman and Rock Bridge practice together, we call ourselves team CoMo. As a whole, team CoMo didn’t have as many state cuts as we were hoping for because we just did not get a chance to race fast teams,” See said. “But for the state cuts we did have this year, I think team CoMo did very well.”
Even though junior Megan Stober missed out on state this year, she said she knows how the atmosphere is because she participated in the championships last year. Stober said it was amazing to hear all the accomplishments the team earned in the meet.
“I think state is an amazing meet not only because we get to showcase what we’ve been working so hard to accomplish all year, but the sense of family really comes out. There is nothing like the atmosphere at state,” Stober said. “The girls on the team are some of the best girls and seeing all of them do so well at the end of the season after sharing 6 a.m. practices with them for months is really something special.”
By Harsh Singh