Stingrays Lauren Mercer

Ste. Genevieve Stingrays’ Lauren Mercer swam in the 200-meter breaststroke during Saturday’s Junior Olympics Qualifer meet at Poplar Bluff. Mercer won that event and another race to qualify for the Junior Olympics in those events. (Photo courtesy of Latesha Mercer)

Ste. Genevieve Stingrays has made several accomplishments for its program, but the swim team made one of its biggest milestones in program history on Saturday.

All 20 swimmers clinched a spot in at least one event in the biggest meet of the year, and Ste. Genevieve claimed first place in the Junior Olympics Qualifier meet at Poplar Bluff with 591 points.

“My overall first impression of the day was excitement,” said Stingrays head coach Erin Brown. “[Southeast Missouri Swim Conference] Championships is a very special event at the end of the year, but for me, the Junior Olympic Qualifier is what I look forward to the most each year. This is the kids opportunity to take their swimming to the next level, and that they did.”

Before the event even took place Erin Brown and assistant coach Brittany Decker had a good feeling about the meet.

“Coach Brittany and I booked our hotels over six months apart. I booked in November 2018. She booked in late May 2019 at the Hampton Inn in Poplar Bluff . If you have ever stayed there you know that each door number has a picture on it, all different pictures. There must be hundreds of different photos, We were on two separate floors, booked six months apart and ended up with the same picture. Not just any picture, but horseshoes. Horseshoes are known for good luck. At that point I just knew big things were about to happen the next day, and they did”

Hailey Weibrecht, Riley Brown and Addison Weibrecht won all five of their events to qualify for the Junior Olympics in those events. Matthew Hoog, Aiden Roth, Brooklyn Weibrecht, Cameron Carlson and Lauren Mercer also qualified in every event they competed in.

The Junior Olympics accepts the top three finishers in every event at the qualifiers and accepts swimmers that hit a specified standard in an event at any point in the season. ...

Additional history was made with the win as it became the first team victory in program history, and Ste. Genevieve did it in dominant fashion. The Stingrays won the meet by 171 points. Farmington was runner-up at 420 and was the only other team to score in triple digits. Perryville finished third at 76 and edged Kennett by a point in the process. Host Poplar Bluff took fifth with 63 points.

See complete story in the June 26 edition of the Herald.