The competition was arduous Saturday afternoon at Foster Natatorium in Springfield.

The first-year Camdenton girls’ swim team hit the water with 23 other schools at the Ozark Invitational where the Lakers finished 23rd in the final team standings. Coach Paige McCane’s club would have certainly liked to place higher when all the final scores were tallied, but the coach is certainly pleased with whats she is seeing in the water from this young group as personal records were reached with time continually being shaved off the clock in different events.

“I thought we did great,” McCane said after Saturday’s meet. “Pretty much everyone dropped time and lots of people set personal records. Going forward we are going to focus a lot on technique. They are all in pretty good shape so we are just going to fine-tune how to swim the races, how to pace ourselves a little bit more so they don’t get worn out halfway through a race and improve things like starts and turns.”

RELAY EVENTS

The day began with the 200-medley relay where the team of sophomore Katie Blackman, sophomore Jeana Lauglin, senior Cami Koons and sophomore Shelby Webster finished 17th out of 32 total teams with a time of two minutes and 51 seconds. In the other two relay events the team of freshman Adrena Normand, freshman Audrey Currier, freshman Emme Thompson and sophomore Erin Leezer finished 18th out of 20 with a time of 2:17 in the 200-yard free relay and the team of Normand, senior Mackenzie Baker, sophomore Sasha Prather and Leezer took 14th place with a time of 5:04.

INDIVIDUAL EVENTS

The individual events kicked off with a total of 68 swimmers diving into the pool for the 200-yard Freestyle and Prather earned 46th in the field with a time of 2:51. In the 200-yard Individual Medley Leezer was the fastest Laker taking 25th out of 42 swimmers at 2:57 while Normand finished 33rd at 3:08 and Koons took 40th at 3:48. Camdenton junior Tori Risner represented the Lakers in the 50-yard Free and the junior earned 53rd out of 73 total swimmers at 39.01 seconds.

A total of four Lakers hit the pool for the 100-yard Freestyle and sophomore Sidney Jones was the fastest among them finishing 46th out of 70 swimmers at 1:21 while freshman Peyton Easter earned 49th at 1:22, Webster took 53rd at 1:24 and freshman Hanna Lehner took 55th at 1:26. The 10th event of the day was the 100-yard Backstroke which featured 69 total swimmers and Normand was the fastest Laker earning 21st at 1:19 while Baker took 41st at 1:29, Currier finished 53rd at 1:36 and Blackman finished right behind her in 54th at 1:37. Last but certainly not least, the 100-yard Breaststroke featured 57 swimmers and Leezer finished 20th at 1:25 while Thompson finished 39th at 1:39 and Lauglin took 44th at 1:45.

Blackman said it was a challenging meet, but that is a good thing for the team moving forward.

“It was a good challenge. I felt like it made me push myself and my teammates because a lot of us set personal records so I think it helped us to be a better team,” the sophomore stated.

Of course, it does not hurt having personal records to give the team a little extra boost and motivation.

“I think we are definitely all getting better throughout the season,” Blackman noted. “I dropped time myself and I know a lot of my teammates dropped time too so it makes it all worth it. All the hard practices become worth it and seeing the progress makes you want to push yourself more.

“We just all have to stick together, push each other and just move forward as a team not leaving anyone behind,” she added.

Those words are certainly pleasing to hear for McCane as the Lakers progress through this first season in the pool and that is exactly the type of attitude she wants to see moving forward.

“They just jump in and they work hard. We know coming in we are going to face challenges from being a new program, but I have a good group of girls who just put their head down and go so I’m very thankful for that,” the coach stated.

Now, it is about getting back to work and continuing to make strides forward as the Lakers get ready to return to the pool at Foster Natatorium for a meet with Springfield Central and Kickapoo on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

“Just keep doing what we are doing,” McCane said looking ahead to the rest of the season. “We have a strong group of girls that push each other, help out and rely on each other. If we just keep going forward with that and they keep putting in the hard work like they’ve been doing then we are going to be great. We have another eight or nine meets left so our season is not even really halfway over. They know that there is a lot ahead of them and they just got to push through and keep on doing what we are doing.”