Girls swim team places third at GACs, sends one to state

The girls swim team finished with a third place title at the GAC competition, sending one swimmer to state along the way.


Sophomore Megan Smith swims the 100-yard breaststroke. At the conference meet, Smith took first in this event and missed the state time by .5 seconds.

Last night, the girls swim and dive team competed in the GAC competition against 11 other schools from across the area. The team placed third overall, with only Francis Howell and Fort Zumwalt West ahead of them. The score came down to a nail-biting last few events, ending in a 2.5 point lead over Wentzville-Holt for the Spartans.

“We were a little nervous, because we were doing some calculations and thought that we might get edged out by half a point, but when the results came, when we edged them out, it was a relief,” Assistant Coach Andrew Morgan said. “It was a fun relief.”

Freshman Carli Buchanan gained points for the team by swimming in the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 400 free relay events in finals Thursday night. During Tuesday’s preliminaries, Buchanan qualified for state in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1.02:97, making the state time of 1.02:99 by a margin of .02 seconds.

“I thought it was very exciting. I wasn’t really expecting it on Tuesday; I was more expecting it on Thursday, but I was very happy and very excited,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan attributes hard work, swimming year-round at Parkway and swimming since she was little as factors in her state qualification. She will practice with Francis Howell’s team for the next week to prepare for the state meet that takes place Feb. 21-22.

“I was really happy because I barely made [state time], but I looked up at the clock and realized I had made it, and I just couldn’t stop smiling,” Buchanan said.

Sophomore Megan Smith also contributed to the Spartan’s third place title on Thursday night by placing first in the 100-yard breaststroke, missing her chance to compete at state by a slim margin. To qualify for state, the swimmer must achieve a time of 1:12.49 ; Smith’s time was 1:12.94.

“I was really happy that I got first and beat the person that beat me Tuesday, but I was about half a second away from a state time, so it was a little depressing,” Smith said. “It was kind of a bittersweet moment, really.”

Coach Morgan believes the technique-focused workouts the girls do at practice, especially specific stroke-oriented practice, helped them perform well in their races. However, the coaches cannot force the swimmers to push themselves in races; the girls have to do that themselves.

“The girls really stepped it up at the end. We had been kind of bouncing back and forth between third and fifth place, but I told the girls in the last few events, ‘We’re so close. You just gotta step it up.’ And they all did,” Coach Morgan said. “You just can’t teach that; they just have to do it themselves.”

On Wednesday night, four FHC divers competed and also added points to the team’s overall GAC score. The coaches and teammates were happy with their third place finish.

“We couldn’t have asked for better swims from anybody,” Coach Morgan said.