No matter what happens with the rest of her swim career, Republic junior Sarah Baker will always be the answer to a trivia question: Who was the first Lady Tiger to get in the pool?
Baker led off the 200-Yard Medley relay, becoming the first Republic High School girl swimmer to compete, quickly followed by teammates Karissa Metzger, Mady McCrea, and Quinn McCrea, who finished out the relay team.
Photo gallery below.
The next four relay swimmers, in the 300-Yard Free relay, were Kathryn Flippin, Yelayna Jakes, Lena Mais, and Arielle Sumners. The eight of them comprise the first-ever Republic girls swim team, and they started their season with the All Relay Meet in Springfield.
“I’ve never swam [competitively] before, and I’m really excited that Republic school had a swim team,” Jakes said. “I always loved to swim when I was a little kid, and this was just kind of a two-in-one…a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and to also do something that I love.”
Before the first meet began, freshman Kathryn Flippin admits she was nervous. “I’m not going to lie to you. I felt like I was going to pass out,” she said. “But Arielle and Yelayna and Lena all kept me calm. They said, ‘You’re going to do great,’ and they were great, and then I got on that board and I was ready to go.”
Mais said she had been looking forward to the start of meet season. “Just getting back in the water, it’s fun. I can usually only do it during summer,” she said. Her strategy for her first race, she said, was “Just swim. Try not to drown.”
Sumners had never swam competitively before, but had plenty of experience in the pool. She worked as a lifeguard over the summer. About her first swim meet, she said, “I was most excited to hang out with all my new friends and be a great team.”
The Lady Tigers finished seventh in the 200 Medley and 11th in the 300 Free. In the 400-Yard Free relay, a team of Baker, Mais, McCrea, and Sumners finished 10th.
Their best finish of the night came in the 500-yard Free, where Flippin, Jakes, Metzger, and Mady McCrea finished third with a time of 5:59.74. They were one of just three teams to break the six-minute mark.
In both the 200-Yard Backstroke relay and the 200-Yard Breaststroke relay, Republic was seventh. The breaststroke relay team included Baker, Mais, McCrea, and Metzger. The backstroke team included Flippin, Jakes, Mady McCrea, and Sumners.