It was the culmination of a long season's worth of buildup, especially given the fact that some teammates punched their ticket to high school swimming and diving's final weekend way back in September.
"Usually it takes until this time of the year to make those state cuts," Central head coach Marnie Jenkins said. "We were fortunate to have quite a few before going to conference."
Jackson made the cut at this weekend's Suburban Conference meet, and will join fellow Indians Alex Sigrist, Carston Roach, and Cyrus Wallis, who'll take part in seven combined events at the Missouri Swimming State Championships next weekend in St. Peter's, Mo.
It's a fitting final test for a group that's already set school records in the 100-meter back stroke, 100-meter breast stroke, medley relay, and 200-meter free relay this season.
"Making it in the beginning, we had a lot of latitude to try to make other state cuts, swim a few things that we hadn't swam before, and it's just been a really fun year," Roach, a senior, said.
The Indians' trio of seniors who qualified say a big part of the success is the offseason effort put into the pool. That includes swimming club at the club level at Missouri Western while training at B-Fit throughout the year. That's played its part in getting these Indians ahead of the curve and more comfortable as teammates.
"Swimming with somebody for six years, you get to know them really well. It's to the point of almost too well, and so that definitely helps when we're doing relays."
"I was maybe a little more dedicated to it in the last year," Sigrist, another senior, added. "I just haven't seen that improvement stop, so that's really carried on through my senior year."
In her 12 years leading the program, Jenkins has had swimmers and divers place as finalists in the top eight in the state. She expects they could make the same kind of noise this season, which she says is the difference from this point last year.
"They've had this goal together. It's not so individualized," she said. "I'm hoping we get some finalists this time around. That would just make this season the best."
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