[dropcap style=”simple” size=”4″]A[/dropcap]fter placing second at the 2017 MSHSAA state meet last, the Lady Bruins’ swim team has begun this season with a desire for the title, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the state-winning boys’ team this year. The Lady Bruins hope to begin establishing themselves as competitors at the Independence Invitational from Dec. 15-16, one of the main competitions of the season.
The team has seen the loss of key graduating talent, including alumna Ellie Flanagan, who committed to the University of Kansas in Sept. 2016. Seniors Ellie Zweifel, Nicole Williams and Bettie Logan, along with others, will guide the team with the help of newly appointed Head Coach Taylor Birsa throughout the season.
“We lost [Flanagan] who was one of our biggest contributors to this team. She helped us to a second place finish at state last year, so that might hurt us a bit,” Logan said. “However, our freshmen this year are very talented and will definitely contribute to this team and fill in what we lost.”
That freshman talent seems to have done so, as the team has begun the season with a hot start at the Marquette Relays Dec. 2. The diving team saw the greatest success, with senior Caroline Stevens, junior Katie Bagley and freshman Gracie-Anne Fraunfelder collectively placing 6th with a total of 464.85 points.
“Personally, I hope I can show the other teams that Rock Bridge is going to have a strong team again this year,” Williams, who verbally committed to Georgia Tech in July, said. “I want to put up some decent times and just set the tone for this season. I just want to do my part for the team to get us into a good position for state.”
As the season progresses on and the team prepares to compete at Independence, Williams has only positive things to say about her hardworking, talented teammates. As the team starts taking small steps toward the title, she remains confident in the team’s abilities.
“We put in 24 hours of training per week. Literally a seventh of our entire week is spent in a gym or a pool. Swimming is a sport that allows athletes to train with their club team during high school season. So we train with the Rock Bridge team in the morning, and with Columbia Swim Club at night- usually about four to five hours a day,” Williams said. “A lot of people don’t see how much work we put in, and I’m proud of the girls for being willing to do the work that’s necessary to be good. No matter what happens at this meet or the rest, I have 100% confidence we’ll be ready to kick butt at state because that’s what we dedicate ourselves to all season.”
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