The Ozark Lady Tigers made history on Tuesday as they topped six other Central Ozark Conference teams for the first time at John Foster Natatorium in Springfield.
“That was a lot of fun today. We had talked earlier in the season about setting ourselves up to be in a spot where we could win this, and win it for the first time,” Ozark head coach Steve Boyce said.
Lady Tiger Chloe Nelson took first in both the 200 IM (2:17.54) and 100 breast (1:11.77) for state qualifying times.
Grace Scheer also earned two first-place medals in the 100 free and 50 free, in which her teammate Kali Seymour touched the wall merely .43 seconds later to take second-place.
“Grace’s 100 freestyle today was a big drop, and hopefully it gives her a lot of confidence…” Boyce said.
Having a knack for the longest event in high school swimming, Lyndsey Baker took first-place in the 500 free with a time of 5:42.30.
Boyce said, “Normally she’s a sprinter, but I knew, as a senior, she could step up in that 500 and likely provide the team with a win.”
Rare in swimming, Katie Vorhies and Rogersville’s Hope Strausbaugh tied for first in the 200 free with 2:19.52.
On top of Ozark’s numerous individual successes, the team also took first in the 200 free, 400 free and 200 medley relays.
The girls were four-tenths of a second short of setting a new meet record in the 200 medley and five seconds short of a state cut in the 400 free.
“We’ve made the other two. I think we can get the third relay in, which will be pretty spectacular,” said Boyce. “There aren’t very many schools that make all three.”
Ozark will be put to the test again on Saturday for the annual Springfield Invite at the Natatorium.
Boyce said, “We’ll have 24 teams in here. It’ll be loud and crazy and fun. And it’ll be a good opportunity to have tight races.”
Coming in second-place at the COC meet was Webb City with a total of 268 points.
Head coach Shawn Klosterman said, “We’ve been very tired from training, so today we came in and tried to get into really good mindsets to race, and it worked out really well. We had a lot of season best times.”
Lady Cardinal Sydnie Storm earned two second-place medals with her performances in the 200 IM (2:35.13) and 100 breast (1:15.90) events.
Sydney Philpot won third in the 50 free with a time of 26.63, and finished the100 free just under a minute to take second-place.
“It was her first time ever under a minute,” Klosterman said.
The Lady Cardinals’ relay teams took second in the 200 free and 200 medley, and third in the 400 free.
Kicking just behind Baker in the 500 free, Carthage’s Kimberly Sager placed second (6:19.24) to contribute to her team’s third-place win overall.
Katie Mansfield took third in the 200 IM with 2:37.62.
Carthage’s 400 free relay team earned second-place.
Also significant, Olivia Stoneman, a freshman swimming for Nixa High School, set a new meet record and took first-place in the 100 back with a time of 1:01.59. She also topped the 100 fly with a state qualifying time of 1:00.78 to contribute to her team’s fourth-place win.