Five Aquahawks competed at Junior Nationals in Orlando, Fla. March 21-26 against the best swimmers in the country. Below are their results from the meet. Listed is the race time, event and place.
Molly Albrecht (15)
2:04.62 Women Senior 200 Back 28th place
1:55.22 800 Free Relay Lead Off No place
5:11.01 Women Senior 500 Free 130th place
55.39 400 Free Relay Lead Off No place
18:03.10 Women Senior 1650 Free 67th place
59.66 Women Senior 100 Back (Time Trial- no place)
Caitlin Gallagher (16)
2:25.28 Women Senior 200 Breast 77th place
31.73 Women Senior 50 Breast 82th place
4:35.99 Women Senior 400 IM 84th place
1:07.26 Women Senior 100 Breast 76th place
Mariah Hutchinson (18)
53.31 Women Senior 100 Free 85th place
2:06.29 Women Senior 200 Fly 37th place
25.31 200 Free Relay Lead Off No place
26.64 Women Senior 50 Fly 53th place
56.68 Women Senior 100 Fly 20th place
56.96 Women Senior 100 Fly 22th place
Emma Reaney (13)
2:19.40 Women Senior 200 Breast 12th place
2:19.40 Women Senior 200 Breast 13th place
30.34 Women Senior 50 Breast 19th place
30.45 Women Senior 50 Breast 20th place
4:22.00 Women Senior 400 IM 7th place
4:22.41 Women Senior 400 IM 7th place
1:06.01 Women Senior 100 Breast 41th place
2:03.83 Women Senior 200 IM 9th place
2:04.98 Women Senior 200 IM 11th place
Alyssa Rudman (15)
28.46 200 Medley Relay Lead Off
2:06.64 Women Senior 200 Back 50th place
1:57.79 Women Senior 200 Free 160th place
58.51 Women Senior 100 Back 41th place
28.34 Women Senior 50 Back 58th place
2:11.44 Women Senior 200 IM 98th place
58.99 400 Medley Relay Lead Off No place
Peek into the daily diary of a Lawrence Aquahawks swimmer and an average day might read something like this:
4:45a.m.: Wake up call.
5a.m.-6:30a.m.: Practice at the pool.
8a.m.: After a quick breakfast and a change and shower in the pool locker room, off to school.
3p.m.-6:30p.m.: Hit the pool again for another practice.
6:30p.m.-9p.m.: Dinner, homework and maybe a bit of sleep.
The Aquahawks keep this tight schedule year-round with only four total weeks of break, two weeks at the end of March and two weeks at the end of August, to maintain their competitive swimming edge.
On March 21-26 five Aquahawks swimmers got the opportunity to swim at the competitive Junior Nationals meet in Orlando, Fla. Senior swimmers Alyssa Rudman, Molly Albrecht, Caitlin Gallagher, Mariah Hutchinson and Emma Reaney all had times that qualified them to swim Junior Nationals.
The meet pitted the five girls against some of the top swimmers in the country and gave them a chance to improve on their overall times.
"I was feeling nervous and excited to be there to swim against fast swimmers," said 15-year-old Rudman, who swam the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 50 backstroke.
The meet also allowed the swimmers a chance to break out of their daily practice and school regimes to make the long trek to Orlando from Kansas.
"I was really excited to have a week away from home," said 15-year-old Albrecht, who swam the 200 backstroke, 500 freestyle and 1650 freestyle. "It gave me some independence."
The girls got the independence they were hoping for and also said they were able to find some time to have fun amongst their week spent in competition in the pool. They said the nice weather allowed them to go out and have fun in the afternoons after they swam in their events and to come back and watch all the finals at night.
For 16-year-old Gallagher, whose short stature makes her ideal at swimming the breaststroke, the trip to Junior Nationals was not the first one she has made.
Gallagher got the opportunity to swim at the meet last year. She swam the 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 400 individual medley and breaststroke in the relays this year. Though Gallagher said she came close to setting some of her personal best times last year, she also said this year the meet was much better as an all-around experience because she has formed close relationships with the team this year.
The swimmers share a common bond forged by the long hours spent in the pool. The girls said they have all learned to make accommodations and sacrifices to dedicate so much time to swimming day in and day out.
"We miss school a lot for meets and during weekdays we don't have a lot of time and on weekends we can't go out because we have to be in the pool early on Saturdays," Gallagher said. "There are a lot of sacrifices, but there is also a lot of fun."
Not only do they work hard in the pool, but the Aquahawks also work hard to get themselves to the meets. With meets in California, Florida and Kentucky, the swimmers' cross-country traveling expenses can add up quickly. The swimmers held a bake sale to help fund their trip to Junior Nationals and said they work on other fundraisers throughout the year to support their travel expenses.
Though the meets are expensive and time-consuming the Junior National Aquahawk swimmers said they wouldn't have it any other way. Many of the swimmers said they have been swimming so long and enjoy it so much that they can't imagine doing anything else.
The Aquahawks will continue swimming throughout the rest of the spring and summer and are currently working on raising funds to attend a meet in San Diego at the end of May.