The Marquette Mustangs maintained their dominance at the Suburban Conference Yellow Pool girls swim meet.
The Mustangs, who are the reigning Class 2 state champions, recorded 441 points in the meet at Kirkwood. That earned Marquette its sixth consecutive conference championship.
“We consider it a pride point to be able to win in this Conference at all, let alone six years in a row,” Marquette coach Joe Schoedel said. “Obviously with the caliber of talent in our particular conference meet, the girls are always excited for it. Many swim year round with girls from other teams, so it’s always a hyped up meet where the girls want to perform well.”
The Mustangs were hit hard by graduation after last season. This year’s squad is younger and doesn’t have the overall experience of teams in the past.
Still, the girls were determined to do well at the eight-team conference meet.
“This year was different. We have had incredible depth for the past several years, so the conference meet wasn’t much in doubt,” Schoedel said. “After graduating 14, half of the girls swimming at conference had never done so before. The pressure was certainly on them to step up, while the returning girls had to improve from where they were last year. The teams around us are much improved as well, getting some top tier help from various areas.”
The Mustangs were swimming and diving well heading into the conference meet.
“The girls were feeling good, having just completed our sixth straight undefeated season with a win over Lafayette,” Schoedel said. “But they knew that the talent level in our conference, particularly from Kirkwood and Eureka was substantial.”
Eureka was a distant second with 318 points. Lafayette was third at 269 and Kirkwood came in fourth with 266.
“We got a little help with one of Kirkwood’s top swimmers (Alyssa Dennis) out with the flu, but even if they had her it wouldn’t have changed the overall outcome,” Schoedel said. “The girls swam and dove well, continuing to put up personal bests, and even broke some school records along the way.”
The Mustangs were “excited as always” to win the meet, Schoedel said. The victory was a good one for the Marquette program.
“We had several teams talking all the way back to last year about how once we graduate all our seniors we’d be done for,” Schoedel said. “This win just shows how our girls are never complacent and are always striving to be better.”
Schoedel savored the victory as well.
“I never take these wins for granted,” Schoedel said. “There are coaches that go their whole career and never get to jump in the pool. There are always teams trying to take us down and we definitely have a target on our backs. This win was especially sweet considering the makeup of our team and the talent level we were up against.
“This meet is truly a test of depth since all the teams have multiple state scorers. So when they cancel each other out, it’s a question of who fills in those bottom nine through 16 spots and who can squeeze in the top eight. While some of our girls who did that won’t score at state, they can certainly say they contributed to the overall success of the team.”
Two school records were broken in the meet. Senior Amanda Yu broke the oldest school record in the 100 fly. The old record was held by Sara Finan back in 1996. Yu’s time was 57.48 seconds. Sophomore Carsyn Cosman broke Alyssa Lemon’s 100 free record with a time of 52.39 seconds.
“Both were great swims and the girls have been eyeing those records for years,” Schoedel said. “(I’m) Glad to see they are continuing to get faster.”
Marquette won the 200 medley with time of 1 minute, 48.96 seconds. Girls on the relay were Lexi McClard, Hailey Benting, Yu and Maya Esparza.
“Great swim. Lexi was a last minute change as we were trying something new,” Schoedel said. “Benting and Yu both put up best splits, and another come from behind win from Maya. Solid all around that we hope to get even faster at state. They are only a half second off our school record, so they are motivated.”
Cosman won 200 free in 1:54.04. It was a personal best for Cosman.
“A great swim. It was a tight race the whole way between her and Marin Lashley (a freshman from Eureka), but Carsyn hung on for the win,” Schoedel said.
Marquette also won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:38.85. Cosman, Haley Hume, Esparza and Yu were on the relay.
“Another solid swim with good splits all around,” Schoedel said. “This is another new combination we were trying out, and they ended up only a second off our school record. That’ll provide plenty of motivation going into state.”
Several other Mustangs did well at the meet.
“Haley Hume had probably the most significant improvements in her events, suddenly becoming one of the top ranked 200 freestylers in the state,” Schoedel said. “(Junior) Hailey Benting was solid in both of her events, with a personal record in her signature event, the 100 breast, in which she is now the top ranked in the state. Katie Quade had big drops, scoring her first official state cut, and Jenna Howard squeezed in the top eight in both of her events.
“Our diving was solid as it has been all year, placing all four girls in the top eight.”
Sydney Tolbert came in fourth, Anna Mae Williams was fifth, Kate Edelen wound up sixth and Jorie Myers placed eighth.