Watching an interview with Emma Reaney at Friday's Wave The Wheat Meet at the Indoor Aquatic Center, Lawrence Aquahawks coach Mike Soderling chimed in with a bit of sarcasm.
"We don't think she's very good," Soderling joked. "So whatever she says, take it with a grain of salt."
Such a description, of course, could not be farther from the truth. The 14-year-old Southwest Junior High student placed high enough during junior nationals to qualify for a National Club Swimming Association meet June 3-10 in Honolulu. There, Reaney finished second in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 400 IM.
Between her two-a-day practices, Reaney found time to hit the beach, and during her lone open day, she snorkeled and cruised Waikiki Beach.
"It was so fun," she said. "It was probably the best week of my life."
Reaney, who began swimming at age 9, swims both breaststroke and the IM, but specializes in the latter.
"I just kind of like doing everything," she said.
She displayed her proficiency in the 400 IM on Friday, finishing first (5:08.2 minutes). Reaney also earned third place in the 50 freestyle (28.7 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:18.93).
Chase Torgerson competes in both the backstroke and freestyle, but counts the former as his specialty.
"It's always been that stroke that just came the most natural to me," he said. "It just feels the best."
During the Wave The Wheat Meet, he finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.69 minutes. Last year, he won the Class 6A state title in the 100 backstroke for Free State High.
Torgerson primarily will swim that stroke while competing for the University of Denver next year. Torgerson, who aspires to become a doctor, chose the school for several reasons, including academics, the campus and the idyllic location.
Although excited about the opportunity at Denver, he called leaving the Aquahawks, his club team since 1999, bittersweet.
"It's hard to say goodbye," he said.
Chelsea Dirks-Ham competed for the Aquahawks Friday, but competed against her next team, as Missouri State University fielded its own squad, Missouri State Aquatics.
A majority of the Bears' swimmers Friday were male, making it a less conflicting situation for the Missouri State-bound swimmer than one would imagine.
"It's not like the whole team by any means," she said.
Some of the girls' team will stay with Dirks-Ham tonight, perhaps leading to some early bonding.
The Lawrence High graduate and butterfly star began swimming in second grade when she saw an Aquahawks flyer, but did not devote herself to that demanding stroke until a year-and-a-half ago.
"It's fun," she said. "It's one of those strokes where if you work hard, it hurts, but it feels good."
¢The Wave The Wheat Meet continues with warm-ups for the 10-and-under and 11- to 12-year-old swimmers beginning at 7 a.m. today and Sunday at the Indoor Aquatic Center.