Central to Cap Record-Setting Season at State

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 02/14 2014 11:36PM

Updated 02/15 2014 12:23AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Through 13 years coaching the Central swim team, Marnie Jenkins has become accustomed to either having a solid senior corps or an up-and-coming group of underclassmen. But the 2014 squad broke the mold.

"This is the first year that we've had an overlap, so it's really exciting," Jenkins said. "I have young swimmers and seasoned swimmers that are very strong."

For the first time in Jenkins tenure, Central will have nine swimmers participating at state February 21st and 22nd in St. Peters. The Lady Indians send three individuals and three relays to compete. It's a group consisting of a trio of seniors mixed with three sophomores and three freshmen that are rising above expectations.

"It means a lot to all of us," freshman Madeleine Brownfield said. "We never thought we could qualify all three of our relays, and we're all so close so it's really good."

"I wasn't expecting us to qualify in all three relays, because my freshman year we had a really good group of girls and we didn't qualify in the medley which is a quite a difficult relay to qualify for," senior and previous state qualifier Karleigh Eckhardt said. "But we did it."

Central did more than just qualify the medley relay for a state time, they shattered a 14-year-old school record in the process.

"I didn't think we were going to get that relay to state," Jenkins said. "I was so frustrated with that relay. And when we got to conference they just did it, and they smashed it."

The Lady Indians' three seniors that have earned their places at the competition in St. Peters are the only swimmers on the squad with a taste of the state meet from previous seasons. Eckhardt and Madison Ideker each swam in the 200 freestyle relay in 2013, while Rylee Hanlan served as an alternate.

"I think making it to state last year gave us confidence that we know that we can do it, and we knew we could carry it on to this year," Ideker said.

"I know a little of what to expect, and I know how the meet's going to run," Hanlan said. "It's a little less nerve-racking I guess you could say because I've been there and I know, but I haven't really swam."

Along with Eckhardt and Ideker, freshman Audrey Schank will also be swimming for individual medals when she arrives at the biggest meet of her young career.
"I wanted to do well, and I've been looking forward to my freshman year of swimming," Schank said. "It's exciting, and to experience it with these girls is even more exciting."

As their final preparations for state draw to a close next week, the group that set a new standard for swimming at Central will take time to enjoy the final moments of its record-setting run.
"We definitely have put the bar high. We have a very talented group of girls this year," Ideker said. "I'm going to miss all of this. It's just been a fun, great year."

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