Local swimmers find out how they stack up against state's best

Sunday, January 20, 2008
Jackson's Sam Leirer competed in the 200-yard freestyle Saturday during the City of Roses Invitational in Cape Girardeau. (Kit Doyle)

Jackson's McGinnis and Notre Dame's Menz both earned top-three finishes Saturday.

Jackson sophomore Cailin McGinnis is in a pickle most high school swimmers only dream of being in.

The sophomore has already qualified for the state meet in five individual events, but she can swim in only two individual events at state.

So she has to take time to decide which two are her best races.

"I still don't know what I am going to swim in state," she said. "I have five cuts now and you can only swim two."

Central's Betty Buhs, left, and Jackson's Allyssa Dittmer swam the 200 freestyle Saturday during the City of Roses Invitational in Cape Girardeau. (Kit Doyle)

McGinnis, who has earned state times in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, continued her strong swimming Saturday afternoon at the City of Roses Invitational hosted by Central High School.

She earned a third-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 3.82 seconds), and was one of two local swimmers to finish in the top three in an individual event.

The other top finisher, Notre Dame's Brittany Menz, a friend of McGinnis, came in third in the 100 backstroke (1:05.69).

There were 15 teams from across the state that competed.

For McGinnis, she said the meet helped her gauge her ability against competition she might see later in the year when the state competition comes around. She added that she liked being presented with both a rose and medal for placing.

Central senior Amity Downing competed in the 200-yard individual medley Saturday.

"This kind of meet shows me how prepared I am for state and stuff," she said.

McGinnis is certainly a high endurance athlete. She has won the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department's annual Youth Triathlon multiples time, a competition that involves a combination of swimming, biking and running.

She was kind of born into swimming. Her father, Larry McGinnis, is the coach of the SEALs club swimming team, and competed in the sport in college.

But McGinnis said it was her mother who signed her up for her swimming lessons when she was 6 or 7 years old, adding that her father was not going to put her into the sport.

"Maybe he just didn't want to decide for me, I guess," she said.

Jackson's Courtney Norman grabbed some air Saturday, January 19, 2008, during the City of Roses Invitational. (Kit Doyle)

But the more McGinnis became involved in swimming, the more she started to enjoy it. Her father also began to become more involved, and started to help coach her before becoming the SEAL's coach.

Jackson coach Shana Kight said it's been helpful to have an experienced swimmer like McGinnis on the Indians, a program in its first year. She also added that freshman Allison Hobbs, who earned a fourth-place finish in the 500 freestyle, adds to the team's young nucleus.

"We've got two young swimmers who are going to be able to help out the team for several more years," Kight said. "Not only that, but they've got beautiful strokes, some great times and they swim hard, practice hard and the other girls on the team see that."

Kight added about McGinnis: "It's almost kind of bred into her. She swims day in and day out. She lives for the meets. She lives for the competition. ... She does everything."

Soon after leaving the meet, McGinnis was planning to travel to Memphis, Tenn., to participate in a swim meet today.

Who was she planning to travel with to Memphis?

That would be the other local swimmer to break into the top three Saturday, Menz, who also plans to compete,

Menz competed in the 50 and 100 freestyle last year at the state tournament, and her third-place time in the 100 backstroke qualified her for state in that race.

"It was shocking," Menz said of that race. "I wasn't expecting to make it. ... Right now I'm thinking about the 100 backstroke as my second individual event [at state]."

Menz, who has been swimming since she was 8 years old, did not have as comfortable a start to her swimming career as her friend McGinnis. She said she was scared of the water until her uncle threw her into a lake in Kentucky. Since then, it has been all up stream.

She said her goal is to make the top eight at state instead of the top 16 like last year. Facing strong competition at her team's home pool helped her judge her improvement this season.

"We've swam against a lot of St. Louis teams that are really good," she said. "And a meet like this, where there is a lot of competition, makes me get the feel of how state is almost going to be like."

Host Central is still without a swimmer to earn a state cut time, but Annie Wolpers is getting close. She was only .3 seconds away from the state cut time. She finished fourth in the 50 freestyle.

"It feels awesome," Wolpers said. "I was just hoping for a top eight. I beat ... some people I wanted to get better times than."

Eureka's Amber Green was the meet MVP, setting the meet record in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, which were held by Central's Hannah Kinder.

Team results -- 1. Glendale 463; 2. Eureka 308; 3. Webster Groves 292; 4. Parkway Central 224; 5. Springfield Central 220; 6. MICDS 138; 7. Notre Dame 125; 8. Lindbergh 124.5; 9. Jackson 117; 10. Central 92.5; 11. Hillcrest 76; 12. St. Vincent 34; 13. Poplar Bluff 29; 14. Nixa 26; 15. Saxony Lutheran 12.

Individual results

(Event winner plus local finishers in top 20)

200 medley relay -- 1. Glendale, 1:53.61; 8. Notre Dame 2:07.73; 9. Jackson 2:07.75; 10. Central, 2:08.96; 13. St. Vincent 2:28.26; 14. Saxony Lutheran 2:36.23

200 freestyle -- 1. Olivia Harrell, GLEN, 1:57.21; 4. Brittany Menz, ND, 2:05.17; 7. Allison Hobbs, JACK, 2:06.95; 18. Ava Andersson, ND, 2:25.03

200 individual medley -- 1. Jillienne Schilling, WEB, 2:09.43; 12. Sydney Stein, JACK, 2:33.24; 13. Mary Catherine Ford, CENT, 2:33.62; 14. Jackie Bader, ND, 2:38.03; 18. Audrey Glover, ND, 2:41.25; 20. Shay Loughary, JACK, 2:43.39

50 freestyle -- 1. Amber Green, EUR, 23.78; 4. Annie Wolpers, CENT, 26.58; 9. Lauren Castleman, ND, 26.68; 15. Jessie Baker, CENT, 27.64

Diving -- 1. Alex Roman, EUR, 425.25

100 butterfly -- 1. Jordyn Johnson, CENSP, 1:01.48; 3. Cailin McGinnis, JACK, 1:03.82; 16. Loughary, JACK, 1:13.77; 18. Bader, ND, 1:14.85; 19. Abigail Messmer, ND, 1:15.45

100 freestyle -- 1. Green, EUR, 50.92; 6. Castleman, ND, 58.23; 18. Jenny Brant, ND, 1:03.60

500 freestyle -- 1. Schilling, WEB, 5:08.40; 4. Hobbs, JACK, 5:33.95; 7. McGinnis, JACK, 5:37.15; 10. Baker, CNT, 5:50.89; 11. Ford, CENT, 5:52.24; 19. Andersson, ND, 6:28.78

200 freestyle relay -- 1. Glendale 1:44.46; 5. Notre Dame 1:49.25; 10. Central 2:06.67; 13. Jackson 2:13.44

100 backstroke -- 1. Sara Snow, GLEN, 1:02.19; 3. Menz, ND, 1:05.69; 10. Wolpers, CENT, 1:09.05; 16. Brant, ND, 1:15.00

100 breaststroke -- 1. Deanna Sorenson, GLEN, 1:08.49; 13. Stein, JACK, 1:21.26; 15. Glover, ND, 1:23.23; 19. Rachel Henson, ND, 1:25.87; 20. Sarah DeWilde, St.V, 1:25.95

400 freestyle relay -- 1. Webster Groves 3:46.18; 6. Jackson 4:07.48; 7. Central 4:13.87; 10. Notre Dame 4:22.19; 13. St. Vincent 4:52.51; 14. Saxony Lutheran 5:10.75

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