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Boys’ swim, dive team compete in Team Como dual meet

The boys’ swim and dive team competed in the Team Como Dual Meet in Columbia Oct. 3 alongside the other Columbia high schools, Hickman (HHS) and Battle (BHS).

Originally meant to be a dual meet between Team Como (RBHS, HHS, and BHS) and Cape Central, the meet took place at the HHS pool. Because of unforeseen circumstances, the swimmers from Cape Central were no longer able to make it to the meet. 

Head coach Taylor Birsa said she was “a little disappointed” that Cape Central backed out for the second year in a row.

“It was their homecoming this weekend,” Birsa said, “and they have a lot of seniors, so it was understandable [that] they weren’t going to make the trip up.”

Despite the absence of Cape, Birsa decided to host the meet anyway, seeing it as an opportunity for fun, team bonding and another chance for a home meet, of which Team Como has few. It was the perfect time for Team Como to continue its annual tradition of singing the national anthem at the meet it hosts at HHS.

We made [the meet] work with swimming some off events since we are comfortable in our pool, and we’re still able to have a good meet, I think our boys also need to join the choir because our national anthem sounded really good.”

Taylor Birsa, swim and dive coach

“We made [the meet] work with swimming some off events since we are comfortable in our pool, and we’re still able to have a good meet,” Birsa said. “I think our boys also need to join the choir because our national anthem sounded really good.” 

Beginning the meet with the 200-yard medley relay, the team of juniors Turner DeArmond and Eric Fritschi, seniors Oakley Lorson and Allen Whitaker finished second in its heat, just behind the HHS A relay team and beating out the HHS and RBHS B relay teams.

Did You Know? One team can enter more than one relay team, with the fastest being A, second fastest being B, etc.

In the third event, the 200-yard individual medley, freshman Zach Coughenour and sophomore Andrew Knowles set the trend of going about their best times or a little slower, which their teammates would follow for the rest of the meet. 

Along with Whitaker, Fritschi and DeArmond, sophomore Noah Robinson and senior Oakley Lorson competed in the next event: the 50-yard freestyle. Because the 50 is the shortest race, the teammates often think it to be the most fun event. Because of this, no one was afraid to try his hardest to beat their teammates to the wall.

The light mood was most tangible during the 15 minute break following the 50-yard freestyle. Lorson was throwing a football back and forth in the pool with his friend, BHS senior AJ Huskey. The team’s laughter echoed across the water as Birsa, ensnared in a circle of swimmers, simultaneously scolded them for saying a few choice words they shouldn’t have and joined in the humor of what the swimmers said.

Resuming the meet with the 100 fly, DeArmond won the first and only heat with a smile, barely managing to keep the behind-the-blocks banter from making him laugh during his race.

In the 100-yard freestyle, sophomore Kenji Kuwajima, Coughenour and junior Aiden Dunne  followed the trend set earlier, with each swimmer going within a second of their best times. Robinson said he thought the team still performed well despite the quick timeline and room’s lax mood.

Everyone works hard to help stay on top of when their events are about to swim, so even if we look laid back, we are ready to go. Everyone helps each other to not forget when they need to go swim.

Noah Robinson, junior

“Everyone works hard to help stay on top of when their events are about to swim, so even if we look laid back, we are ready to go,” Robinson said. “Everyone helps each other to not forget when they need to go swim.”

Choosing to compete in the eighth and longest event, the 500-yard freestyle, Robinson, Fritschi and Knowles kept pace with one another the whole race. While none of the swimmers went a best time, each found it to be a fun competition and joked that they should do it during practice sometime. 

From the beginning of the meet, the swimmers knew the environment would be relatively casual. With the short timeline of only 45 minutes for the whole meet (swim meets typically last between two to three hours) and only the familiar faces of Team Como, the pool had a distinctly laid-back and comfortable atmosphere.

While the 100-yard backstroke is not Lorson’s strong suit, he still managed to win the event’s first and only heat, swimming the event just to see what he could achieve.

In the penultimate 100-yard breastroke, Dunne and Kuwajima swam with whatever fuel they had left, wanting to finish out their last individual event with nothing to regret. 

During the 400-yard freestyle, the meet’s final event, the relay of Knowles, Fritschi, Robinson and Kuwajima took home one last win, beating the HHS relay team by a body length.

“I thought that the meet was a lot of fun and really enjoyable,” junior Eric Fritschi said, “especially considering everyone was able to get in and out of their events so quickly.” Overall, the RBHS swimmers enjoyed the meet.They were glad that Birsa decided to host the meet despite the absence of Cape.

How do you think the Bruins will perform at state? Let us know in the comments below!

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