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Local high school swim teams open season with fundraising meet
The high school swimmers competing Tuesday at the Central Pool were doing more than just splashing around.
They were splashing for a cure.
The "Splash Out Cancer" Swim Meet, won by Jackson, opened the season for area girls swim teams. Hosted by Central, the event -- which attracted some 85 swimmers from Central, Jackson, Notre Dame, Saxony Lutheran, Perryville, St. Vincent and Poplar Bluff high schools -- also served as a fundraiser for "Dig for Life."
"We started this last year," Central swim coach and meet organizer Dayna Powell said. "We made it a challenge which team could sell the most T-shirts."
The shirts sell for $10 -- $5 for the shirt, and $5 to "Dig for Life," a program coordinated by Saint Francis Medical Center that helps pay for mammograms. Last year, the sale raised approximately $1,700.
Powell is hoping for even more this year. The T-shirt sale ends Dec. 11.
"A lot of people buy them for Christmas presents," Powell said.
For the swimmers, it was an opportunity to return to competition, and for some a welcome event after a long summer on dry land.
Especially for Maddie Seifert. The Central junior has been in the water for only about three weeks after sustaining a back injury during the summer. She placed second in the 200 individual medley, which combines all four swim strokes.
"It's a hard event," she said after finishing in 2 minutes, 29.78 seconds. "I have to get my mind straight to do all the strokes. It's one of my favorite events."
She believes she can improve on some of her split times to meet the state qualifier time of 2:19.99.
"In that event, that's the goal," she said. "Just to get my mind on my game is half the battle. I have to try not to push myself too far and get hurt again."
Jackson senior Kyleigh Troxel won the event with a time of 2:20.47 but believes she can go even faster.
"I was a little disappointed in my time," she said. "[Breaststroke] is one of my harder strokes."
Central senior Chleo LeGrand is hoping for a third straight trip to the state meet in diving.
"I could do better," she said after winning the 1-meter event with 212.20 points. "For the first meet, it's OK."
She knows what she needs to do to improve.
"Work on my form, work on getting higher and tighter all around," she said.
"Young" was a dominant theme at the meet. A handful of freshmen turned in impressive performances, especially Jackson freshman Caitlyn Palmer, whose first-place time of 59.65 in the 100 butterfly qualified her for the state meet.
"I've been swimming since 2007," said Palmer, who also finished second in the 100 backstroke with a state-qualifying time of 1:02.95. "I gave up softball. I really fell in love with [swimming]. I'm trying to improve. My goal is to swim in the Olympics."
Notre Dame freshman Madison Heisserer won the 100 backstroke in 1:02.27. She likes the 200 free better.
"It's not too short and not too long," she said.
Saxony freshman Elizabeth Kiefner, second in the 200 freestyle in 2:13.18, said the pace of the meet surprised her.
"These meets are much faster," she said. "There's not as much rest [between events]."
The diving event was different, she said.
"I've never seen diving before," Kiefner said. Asked if she would consider diving, she exclaimed, "No! I could never do that!"
Jackson finished with 494 points, followed by Central (455), Notre Dame (408) and Poplar Bluff (369), Perryville/St. Vincent 195 and Saxony Lutheran (141).
Natalie King of Perryville/St. Vincent also qualified for the state meet with a time of 1:03.18 in the 100 backstroke.
Splash Out Cancer Swim Meet
Team scores -- Jackson 494, Cape Central 255, Notre Dame 408, Poplar Bluff 369, Perryville/St. Vincent 195, Saxony Lutheran 141.
200 medley relay -- 1. Jackson (Jeannette Powell, Kyleigh Troxel, Caitlyn Palmer, Conner McKinney) 2:01.57; 2. Notre Dame 2:08.25; 3. Poplar Bluff 2:10.35.
200 freestyle -- 1. Madison Heisserer (ND) 2:06.13; 2. Elizabeth Kiefner (S) 2:13.18; 3. Maddy McDonald (C) 2:18.78.
200 IM -- 1. Troxel (J) 2:20.47; 2. Maddie Seifert (C) 2:29.78; 3. Emily King (P/SV) 2:37.64.
50 freestyle -- 1. Cassidy Harris (PB) 26.06; 2. Julia Dragon (PB) 28.19; 3. Campbell Keele (PB) 29.15.
Diving -- 1. Chleo LeGrand (C) 212.20; 2. Makenda Lukefahr (PSV) 188.45; 3. Alexia Phillips (J) 184.85.
100 butterfly -- 1. Palmer (J) 59.65; 2. Powell (J) 1:07.07; 3. Jericka Helton (J) 1:14.26.
100 freestyle -- 1. Harris (PB) 59.94; 2. Josey Powell (C) 1:03.37; 3. Haylee Dragon (PB) 1:05.91.
500 freesytle -- 1. Troxel (J) 5:17.65; 2. McDonald (C) 6:12.42; 3. Becky Earley (ND) 6:27.38.
200 freesytle relay -- 1. Poplar Bluff (Harris, Sarah Crites, Keele, J. Dragon) 1:55.02; 2. Notre Dame 1:58.03; 3. Central 1:59.90.
100 backstroke -- 1. Heisserer (ND) 1:02.27; 2. Palmer (J) 1:02.95; 3. King (PSV) 1:03.18.
100 breaststroke -- 1. Siefert (C) 1:15.50; 2. J. Dragon (PB) 1:21.19; 3. Kiefner (S) 1:22.07.
400 freesytle relay -- 1. Jackson (Palmer, J. Powell, Molly Brakhane, Trozel) 4:05.40; 2. Central 4:21.07; 3. Notre Dame 4:28.69.