Photos Courtesy of Bella Dennis
The Cape Central girls swimming & diving team hosted the SEMO Conference Swimming Championship at “The Bubble” on Tuesday. The Tigers had a very strong performance, taking second place by collecting 462 points. Poplar Bluff won the event with 522 points. Third place finisher, Notre Dame, accumulated 365 points.
Sophomore Lauren Lamar said the team’s performance was outstanding. “The team did amazing,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Individually, Bella Dennis was certainly a standout…so much so that the sophomore was named the conference’s Most Valuable Swimmer. Dennis didn’t do anything but win yesterday. She came away with four first place finishes. It began with the 200 yard medley relay as the team sped to a first place finish in 1:57.94. Dennis swam the second leg, the breaststroke. She was joined by Ava Duncan who started things off with the backstroke. Lauren Jauch swam the third butterfly leg, and then Lana Woolard swam the freestyle anchor. (team pictured above)
Dennis then won the 200 yard IM, touching the wall in 2:19.24. She said the victory came as a shock. “I was surprised on my 200 IM, mainly because I haven’t really trained for it all season. I didn’t expect to get a best time, but I’ll take it!”
She came back and teamed with Jauch, Lamar, and Grace Sanders in the 200 yard freestyle relay, winning that race in 1:44.58. Dennis was the first leg in that relay. Finally, she swam a 1:09.20 to win the 100 yard breaststroke. “My 100 breast was right where I needed it to be to take on state next week,” she emphasized.
And while Dennis was dominant, there were many others who excelled at the meet. Sanders also brought home four first place finishes. Along with the 200 yard free relay victory, Sanders won the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 2:02.12. She took first in the 500 yard freestyle, clocking in at 5:41.53. She then finished things off with a first place finish in the 400 yard freestyle relay, swimming the first leg, and then watching teammates Olivia Koenig, Duncan, and Lamar bring things home with a time of 3:54.76. Sanders said it was a good day. “I would like to have had faster times going into state, but I am happy with my swims for yesterday.”
Lamar, along with the 200 yard freestyle relay victory, and the 400 yard freestyle relay win, also took first in the 100 yard freestyle, clocking in with a time of 54.86. Add in a second place finish in the 50 yard free (25.48), and she had a pretty complete day.
Duncan also came away with three first place finishes. Along with her two relay wins, she also took home top honors in the 100 yard backstroke. Her winning time was 1:02.45. She also finished in second place in the 100 yard freestyle (57.24). She said she’s right where she wants to be heading into state competition. “I didn’t want to go into conference fresh, because I wanted to see what I could do sore, so I was very impressed with myself and how the team preformed,” she noted. “We didn’t get conference champs, but we almost got first in every event, so I thought that was very impressive! I think we are all in a good spot right now to head into state…just a week to go!”
Jauch’s two relay wins were in addition to her third place finish in the 100 yard butterfly (1:05.88), and a fifth place finish in the 100 yard backstroke (1:07.19). Woolard, along with her spot in the 200 yard medley relay, finished fifth in the 1 meter diving event, collecting 244.85 points. She also finished in seventh place in the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:18.70. Paige Elder was a third place finisher in the 200 yard IM (2:32.60), and she took sixth in the 100 yard fly (1:10.38). Koenig, in addition to being a part of the winning 400 yard free relay, also took fifth place in the 200 yard free (2:18.70), and 100 yard fly (1:09.77). Finally, Daley Drum was a third place finisher in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 27.23.
The state competition begins next Thursday at the City of St. Peters Rec-Plex in St. Peters, MO. The Class 1 competition will be all day Thursday and then Friday morning.