It's a good thing Lawrence High sophomore Elle Weber is a quick breather, otherwise she might not have been able to join her friends in one of her favorite events.
Tuesday afternoon, at the Lions' first home meet of the season, Weber had less than 13 minutes to get out of the pool after winning the 100-yard breaststroke (1:14.93) and hop back onto the starting blocks for the 400-yard freestyle relay that capped the meet.
No sweat. Weber, the anchor on the relay, hit the water with a huge lead and held onto it with ease, giving LHS a 20-second victory in the event and a 159-point victory over Topeka Seaman in the final standings.
"It's tough, but I've kind of gotten used to it," Weber said. "I like to swim with my friends, and that's the only way I can. I guess adrenaline just takes over."
Weber's friends on that 400-yard relay squad had a banner day Tuesday at the LHS pool, with leadoff swimmer Sarah Schwartz winning the 200-yard individual medley (2:19.83) and No. 2 swimmer Jessica Boyer (1:02.47) winning the 100-yard butterfly. In all, the four girls on that final relay teamed up for seven top-three finishes in individual events. Schwartz, Boyer, Weber and Erina Houk also combined to take first in the 200-yard medley relay that kicked off the day.
"We always like to do well, but I think the girls really get excited about it being a home meet and want to do their best," LHS coach Kent McDonald said.
As a team, the Lions won seven of the meet's 12 events, with senior Mallory West adding a first-place finish in the one-meter dive competition and freshman Allie Edmonds winning the 100-yard backstroke by nearly six seconds.
In one of the most exciting events of the afternoon, Boyer and Schwartz once again engaged in a heated battle to the finish line in the 200-yard individual medley. For the second meet in a row Schwartz got the best of Boyer in the event. But not by much. The LHS freshman touched the wall less than a half-second ahead of her sophomore counterpart. When it was all over, both girls had nothing but positive things to say about their rivalry.
"It really helps us both because it's a healthy competition," Boyer said. "But deep down we both really want to beat each other."
Schwartz agreed and said the best part about their usual battle for the top spot was not which girl won, but that both added to the team total.
"It's actually really nice," Schwartz said. "She pushes me, and I push her, and we're both good enough that it ends up scoring a lot of points for the team."
On a team loaded with depth, McDonald said his team has more of these friendly rivalries than his girls realize.
Next up for the Lions is Saturday's trip to Wichita for the 11 a.m. Trinity Invitational.