WaterThrashers to host championships this weekend
Monett’s home winning streak on the line in season ender
The Monett WaterThrashers swim team will wrap up its season this weekend by hosting the Tri-State Swim Conference A Championships at the Monett Area YMCA.
According to Charles LaGarce, head coach, 50 of the 123 Monett swimmers participated last weekend in the Conference B championships in Siloam Springs, Ark. Twenty advanced to the finals, and many scored times high enough to qualify them for this weekend’s event.
“In combined scores, we placed fourth of the 13 teams in Siloam Springs,” LaGarce said. “Our swimmers saw a 51 percent improvement. It was a really good effort and a good weekend.”
LaGarce said the surprise of last weekend was how well the Goodson brothers, Turner and Ryan, performed. Both scored A times and will race this weekend. LaGarce noted Turner will be a freshman this fall at Monett High School and plans to do both band and swimming, a first for a Monett student. Ryan, though still at middle school, offers a strong prospect for the high school swim team in the future.
This coming weekend, warmups both days will begin at 7 a.m. with meets starting at 9 a.m. Competition will run until 3 p.m. on Saturday, then will resume for finals at 5 p.m., running until around 8 p.m. On Sunday, races will run until 1 p.m. After a break, finals will start at 3 p.m and run until around 7 p.m. LaGarce said food trucks will come to the park this year to provide a new level of concessions. Swimmers and their families from all 13 teams from Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri will attend.
The championships allow each team to field a relay team. Both A and B level swimmers can compete on the team, but times must hit a specific threshold to score or to place, even if they advance to the finals.
“Relays are worth double points, so it’s exciting and a little nerve-racking to see less experienced swimmers in the mix,” said LaGarce. “It’s always a great competition. The B championships offer a tremendous opportunity to be successful and grow the sport. The A championships are the pinnacle of excellence.
“You must master things like the back double flip turn and racing dives prior to going into the meet to expect to succeed. These are things swimmers need to master in practice rather than trying them for the first time at the meet. It’s always interesting. Kids will surprise you by swimming above and beyond their ability.”
Monett has won the A championships all three years the event has been held at the Monett Area YMCA. LaGarce admitted that puts extra pressure on the home team to perform, but noted swimmers had to make the times earlier to advance to this season finale.
“I hope we’ve put things in place so kids feel safe,” LaGarce said. “When kids feel good about doing their best, kids always win. Winning and losing takes care of itself. Finding the effort and desire within yourself to succeed is more important than winning.
“If others win this year, we’ll redouble our efforts and come back next year. It’s exciting to know every championship is like a Christmas present. You open it and see what you get.”
The WaterThrasers is comprised of swimmers from the Barry County and Lawrence County area.