Ste. Genevieve’s Riley Brown went off the backstroke during the Junior Olympics at North Carolina in late July. (Stingray photos courtesy of Michelle Hoog, Nichole Weibrecht and Jodi Brown)

While some swimmers for the Ste. Genevieve Stingrays were done for the season, a select few  went to the most prestigious meet on their schedule starting on Thursday, July 25.

Fifteen Stingray swimmers, along with coaches Erin Brown and Brittany Decker, joined fellow Southeast Missouri Swim Conference [SMSC] swimmers and coaches from their conference to compete in the Junior Olympics swim meet. When it was all said and done, SMSC took 14th place out of 25 teams at Greensboro, North Carolina.

“The overall excitement leading up to the Junior Olympics didn’t compare to standing on that Olympic-size pool deck. The Greensboro Aquatic Center [GAC] building was fairly new and felt like the Olympics. The athletes’ faces lit up one by one as they entered the main pool area. A very large long-course meter [LCM] pool stared them in the face, and they just stared right back fearless. To the athletes that attended the Junior Olympics for the first time ever, this pool may have been intimidating, but they didn’t let that stop them from getting out there and swimming their absolute hardest.

“Every Stingray came out with a new personal best time or what we call a PR [personal record]. These swimmers also were able to compete in not only club relays within your team or conference for points and awards but mixed relays as well. Swimmers from all parts of the country joined together to swim as one in a relay. The mixed relays were exhibition, but it was definitely an exciting part of each day. The four-day event started with check-in and long-meter events. Over the course of the next three days, swimmers competed in several events, bringing home 15 medals and 19 ribbons within our conference. The Stingrays took 15 athletes to North Carolina, the other seven were from Perryville, Poplar Bluff,  Farmington and Scott City.”

Medals went out to the top eight swimmers in most events, while the next eight were awarded ribbons. A few 200-meter and LCM events awarded medals only.

See complete story in the August 7 edition of the Herald.