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Swimming in Success

While competing at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11, the swim and dive team came away with big wins and more experience.

After+qualifying+for+state+in+the+100-yard+breaststroke%2C+junior+Olivia+Townsend+hugs+Lee%27s+Summit+freshman+Olivia+Strikeleather+who+also+qualified+at+the+meet+at+Lee%E2%80%99s+Summit+Aquatic+Center+Dec.+11.
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Swimming in Success

After qualifying for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Olivia Townsend hugs Lee's Summit freshman Olivia Strikeleather who also qualified at the meet at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11.

After qualifying for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Olivia Townsend hugs Lee's Summit freshman Olivia Strikeleather who also qualified at the meet at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11.

Dani Rotert

After qualifying for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Olivia Townsend hugs Lee's Summit freshman Olivia Strikeleather who also qualified at the meet at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11.

Dani Rotert

Dani Rotert

After qualifying for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Olivia Townsend hugs Lee's Summit freshman Olivia Strikeleather who also qualified at the meet at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11.

Dani Rotert, Co-Photo Editor

The swim and dive team competed in a meet against Park Hill South, Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11. With multiple individual wins and a state qualification, this meet was a success, according to senior swimmer Priscillah Gicharu.

“The team is really fast this year,” Gicharu said. “Swimmers from the last year have improved a lot and we got new swimmers that are just as fast or even faster.”

Dani Rotert
Before swimming the backstroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay, sophomore Kate VanKeirsbilck hangs onto the launch platform at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center meet Dec. 11.

After getting first meet out of the way at the Winnetonka Holiday Invitational Dec. 8, the team was ready to compete in their second meet of the year. Since it was a smaller meet than the one in Winnetonka, everyone was able to compete with less pressure, according to senior diver Ellie Gamble.

“I think we are continually getting better,” Gamble said. “Having a new coach who pushes us to be our best, and consistently be our best, helps us grow as individuals with our skills and as a team.”

The meet was supposed to begin at 4 o’clock with the divers, however, the meet started at 3:45 leaving little time to warm up, according to senior diver Ellie Gamble. Even with the rough start, the team stayed strong throughout the dive event leaving junior Caroline Knopke in fourth, Gamble in fifth and sophomore Lindsey Dougherty in sixth.

“Diving is a very mental sport, and personally getting over mental blocks is something I’ve struggled a lot with, in the past,” Gamble said. “But, I think I’m beginning to finally move past them.”

After dive came swim.  The 200-yard medley relay of juniors Peyton Wiewel, Kate Conway and Olivia Townsend and senior Katie Delong received third. The 200-yard freestyle relay of Delong, Conway, Townsend and freshman Grace Townsend received second. Wiewel got second place in the 100-yard backstroke and Delong won third in the 100-yard butterfly. Though the meet was successful for many of the swimmers and divers, junior Olivia Townsend not only got second in the 50-yard freestyle and won 100-yard breaststroke, but also qualified in backstroke for the state swim meet in February with her time. In only the second meet of the year, Townsend beat the qualification time of 1:12 by two seconds.

Dani Rotert
Junior Hellen Willis swims the 100-yard freestyle at the swim meet at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center Dec. 11.

“I was surprised to see that I’d qualified,” Townsend said. “I wasn’t able to make the meet before so it was a really cool way to start my junior year season.”

As only the second meet of the year, both teams will be able to continue practicing and improving on the road to the state meet. The work the team has put in will be tested again with another quick turn around for their next meet. Swim and dive will be competing again this weekend in the Independence Invitational Dec. 15.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to drop time and for the team to have a lot of people to compete in state,” Townsend said. “We have a really promising group of girls and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the season takes us.”

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Dani Rotert, Co-Photo Editor

Favorite Show: Parks and Rec

Spirit Animal: Dolphin

Guilty Pleasure: The Bachelor

Pet Peeve: People chewing with their mouth open

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