Before leaving for the COMO Invitational in Columbia, MO, Head Swimming & Diving Coach Gentry read a story to the Girl’s Swimming & Diving Team, “What Do You Do with a Chance?” written by Kobi Yamada, about taking chances. It seems the team heard the message of this simple story – to “no longer [be] afraid, but [let their] excitement [be] bigger than [their] fear”, to not “hold back”, to have the courage to “be ready” and to take chances – seize the opportunity – “because [doing so] just might be the start of something incredible.” Last year’s Class 1 State Champions, looking to defend their title, had a strong showing, finishing 7th out of 38 scoring varsity teams and more importantly, finishing 2nd out of 18 Class 1 scoring varsity teams. Notably, there were only 3 Class 1 teams amongst the top 15 places in the meet – and Ladue took advantage of their chance to shine amongst the Class 1 teams while also competing against the strongest Class 2 teams in the state, including last year’s Class 2 State Champion, Marquette who finished 1st.
The COMO Invitational is the LARGEST Girl’s Swimming & Diving meet in the State (51 participating schools out of 143 in the state), larger than either of the Class 1 or Class 2 State Championship sessions, with most teams, including Ladue, fielding both Varsity and Junior Varsity teams to compete in separate competition sessions over a grueling two-day meet Friday, January 3rd and Saturday, January 4th while school was still on Winter Break. The Ladue Junior Varsity team finished 6th out of 24 overall JV teams, and 3rd out of the 14 Class 1 JV teams.
Of particular note was Senior Co-Captain Sophie Fredman Breaking her own School Record of 1:08.32 set at last year’s State Championships, by posting a new mark of 1:08.22 in the 100 yard breaststroke finishing 8th overall at this bell weather mid-season meet, good enough for a State Automatic Qualifying Standard. It is very rare for a School Record to fall in mid-season – most records are set at the end of the year at a Conference Championship or the State meet, so Fredman’s swim is remarkable! Sophie also finished 12th in the 100 FY with a State Automatic Qualifying Standard. Others from Ladue who scored points toward to Varsity Team’s 7th Place finish were Harriet Bezzant (12th, 200 FR; 11th, 500 FR); Mary Dieckhaus (14th, 200 IM; 8th, BA) and Samantha Fischer (4th, Class 1 Diving; 7th, Overall). Samantha’s performance earned her an Automatic Qualifying Score for the Class 1 State Championships with her 11-Dive Score of 356.20, the 1st time a boy or girl from Ladue has done so since Coach Gentry starting Coach with the teams in 2005. An Honorable mention should be noted to Talia Warticovschi who finished 18th in the 100 Butterfly with a State Automatic Qualifying Standard, just out of scoring position in the very competitive 17th-24th Consolation Heat. The Ladue Varsity Relays finished as follows: the 200 Medley Relay of Mary, Sophie, Talia and Amy were 8th, the 200 Free Relay of Sophie, Amy, Lena Liang and Harriet were 8th ,and the 400 Free Relay of Lena Liang, Mary, Talia, Harriet were 10th. Others on the team that have already earned State Automatic Qualifying Standards are Mary Dieckhaus (100 BA) and Sophie Fredman (100 FY & 100 BR) while Harriet Bezzant (200 FR, 500 FR), Mary Dieckhaus (200 IM, 100 FR, ), Sophie Fredman (100 FR), Nicole Li (200 IM, 100 FY), Catherine Liao (100 BA), Lena Liang (200 FR, 500 FR), Riley Oberman (Diving), Amy Pumm (50 FR, 100 BA) and Talia Warticovschi (200 IM, 50 FR, 100 FR, 100 BR) have achieve State Consideration Qualifying Standards.
In the Junior Varsity competition, a number of swimmers earned points toward the Junior Varsity 6th Place finish: Emmi Walker (9th, 200 FR; 8th, 500 FR), Jasmine Li (3rd, 200 IM; 10th, 100 BA), Cecilia Waterson (6th, 200 IM), Brooke McDonald (6th, 100 FY; 15th, 100 BA), Anna Wilson (12th, 100 FR), and Kendall Connors (9th, 100 BR) while the 200 Free Relay of Jasmine, Kendall, Emmi, and Anna were 9th and the 400 Free Relay of Kendall, Brooke, Emmi and Anna were 5th.
Head Swimming & Diving Coach Gentry commented “It seems the Team isn’t afraid, they ARE excited, they didn’t hold back, they seized their opportunity, and ARE poised to defend their State Crown from last year. To do so will be an INCREDIBLE FEAT worth watching!” The team faces Mehlville (01/07), McCluer North (01/09), Hazelwood West (01/14), Villa-Viz (01/16), Parkway North (01/21) and Clayton (01/28) leading up to their toughest competitions against last year’s Class 2 State Champion Marquette (01/23) and last year’s Class 1 3rd place finisher Webster Groves (01/30). They will also be competing in the Cape Central City of Rose Invitational (01/25), another big, bell-weather competition. A busy schedule with little rest leading up to the Conference Championships (02/05-06) and State Championships (02/20-21). The Webster Groves Dual Meet on Thursday, January 30th will be Senior Day at Home and should be an EXCITING MEET WORTH WATCHING!!