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Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

Swimming twins Morfords ready for MU

July 15, 2001

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Since they were 9 years old, the two girls made weekly trips -- often more than three times a week -- from nearby Baldwin to Lawrence to become two of the most dedicated members in the swimming club.

Now the twins are about to become Aquahawk alums. The two recent Baldwin High graduates will turn 18 on Aug. 1 before heading to the University of Missouri, where they will swim for the Tigers on scholarships.

"It was something to try when you're a little kid," Megan said of her swimming start. "When you're a little kid, you like to try all different kinds of sports and pick out which ones you like the most."

Amanda recalled a rocky start with the Aquahawks.

"We swam for a month, didn't like it and quit and then we came back," Amanda said. "Once you get into it, you start to enjoy it."

On Saturday, the twins were at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center to swim at the annual Roger Hill Invitational Swim Meet. Megan swam in the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. Amanda swam in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle.

"This season isn't going very well for me because I had mono for three months," Megan said. "The thing that's kept me motivated is that I'm working to get myself back in shape in college."

Aquahawks coach Brian Barnes has worked with the Morfords for three years. He will hate to see the twins go.

"The practice commitment is large, especially at the high level," Barnes said. "The older you get, the better you get. Just like anything else, in order to improve you have to work and be very committed.

"I've worked with them for three years. When you work with kids that long there is a little emotional attachment, but at the same time you're proud of them because they've accomplished so much and they're improving. They were offered scholarships at Missouri and are going to take them. They're growing up."

The Morfords' older brother, Casey, also grew up with the Aquahawks. Casey will be a sophomore swimmer at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

Casey was back at the Hill Invitational on Saturday to swim in three events -- 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 50 free.

"It's a tremendous compliment to the team when our swimmers in college come back for this event," Barnes said.

Barnes said the Morfords capitalized on the lessons learned from the Aquahawks.

"Swimming is what we do, but there are so many other things involved," he said. "It teaches the kids how to be responsible and life skills as they get older. I think the Aquahawks have done a lot for the Morfords."

As for the Morford twins both attending MU, the two both said, "It just kind of turned out that way."

The twins, however, won't be college roommates.

"That's the way we wanted it," said Megan, who grew up living across the hall from her sister.

At MU, Megan knows her roommate is from South Africa. Amanda knows hers is also named Amanda.

Don't expect the Morfords to stay too far away from the Aquahawks. The two plan on coming back to compete next year at the Hill Invitational.

"I like to see how little things are doing and how much faster they got and if they're going to beat me," Megan said.

-- Sports writer Steve Rottinghaus can be reached at 832-7152.

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