Freshmen play integral role in Mizzou swimming’s home victory

Freshmen play integral role in Mizzou swimming’s home victory


By Joey Schneider, 23 Sports

Saturday, Oct. 4-

Mizzou Swimming and Diving hosted the Show-Me Showdown tournament for the ninth consecutive year on Friday. This was the first meet for the teams, in which eight in-state schools were invited to compete.

After nearly five hours and twenty-six different events, both Mizzou teams came out victorious, beating their respective runner-ups by more than 200 points. The men collected 684 points and 10 event wins, while the women totaled 696 points with 13 event wins.

“Both the men and women swam pretty well, but we’re pretty tired right now.” said head swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh after Friday’s tournament. “We’re coming out of this meet with a lot of things we need to work on, but [the meet] was a good starting point for the season.”

Although swimming is often recognized by individual performances, the men and women excelled in all three-group relays. Both rosters earned a combined six event wins from the three group relays, while collecting victories in all four diving events.

“We started off really well on the medley relays, we had some really fast sprinting,” said Rhodenbaugh. “ That’s something we haven’t had in-season since I’ve gotten here, so that’s encouraging for us.”

The Show Me Showdown marked debuts for 19 new Missouri swimmers. The men wrapped up their 3-meter dive event with the second and third place finishes from freshmen divers Hunter Fritter (307.35) and Eliot Cecil (287.50).

Freshman Rachel Hayden, who was part of two women relay teams, impressed with first place finishes in the 100 freestyle (51.23) and 200 freestyle (1:52.19).

“It’s always great to see what the freshman can do and they certainly complemented the upperclassmen very well today,” said Rhodenbaugh. “We’ve filled in many gaps [with freshmen], and we don’t have a whole lot of holes on our team anymore.”

Aside from the relays, the men’s best performance came from red-shirt junior Matthew Margritier, who notched a NCAA ‘B’ time with a 20.09 finish in the 50 freestyle.

The women were led by breakout performances from sophomore Katherine Ross in the 100 Breaststroke (1:01.74) and 200 IM (2:04.03).

The teams prepared for this event by practicing nine times a week since August. Each practice lasted around two or three hours, but allowed the individuals to split into groups and focus on their strengths.

“We were split up into groups that benefited our specialty events,” said freshman swimmer Jordy Groters. “The practices were challenging and split up between dry land, lifting and pure swimming.”

According to Groters, the coaches told the swimmers that, “this was the fastest Show Me Showdown they have ever been a part of.” Despite the team’s recent progress, Rhodenbaugh believes there is room for improvement.

“We filmed all the races, and we are going to go over them with [the swimmers] individually,” said Rhodenbaugh. “Hopefully by the time [the teams] go full speed at the next meet, we can clean up the little mistakes they’ve made.”

The team’s next home swim meet is scheduled for Oct. 31against the Missouri State Bears. The event takes place at the Missouri Aquatic Center and starts at 5 p.m.