Frazier from the Field: Women’s swim places 7th at State

Greg Frazier
Sports Columnist

Senior Isi Albers, junior Kendra Howard, freshman Madeleine Collier and senior Katherine Kempf bite their medals at the MSHAA State Swimming Championship on Feb. 17-18. Webster placed seventh out of 43. It’s been 10 years since the Stateswomen have placed in the top 10 at State. Photo from Skylar Jones

In December, my prediction for women’s swim was placing them in the top 20; however, its performance blew my prediction out of the water. The team got seventh out of 43.

Senior relay swimmer Isi Albers said in December, “I think we’re going to show how good we are and surprise everyone.”

They did just that.

Albers, along with senior Katherine Kempf, junior Kendra Howard, sophomores Parker Hageman and Elizabeth Ragan, and freshman Madeleine Collier, did in fact surprise everyone.

In preliminaries, the Stateswomen were lacking confidence, but once the first race gunned off and they placed two above their preliminary result, Webster was splashed with a wave of needed confidence for the rest of the State meet.
In the first event at State, 200-yard medley relay, Collier dove off the block to swim a solid 28.59 followed by Howard’s faulty 32.98. Kempf and Albers brought it back with a respectable 29.02 for Kempf and a fast 26.29 from Albers. Webster took 12th, which was an improvement from their 14th finish in the preliminary round.

Hagemann stormed forward in the second event, 200 yard freestyle, placing fourth with a time of 1:54.46. Hagemann went out too fast in the first 50 yard (25.80) and felt the repercussions in the 150 split, swimming a 30.09. Still, a decisive performance.

Howard swam the 200-yard IM for a seventh place finish with a time of 2:14.53. One second slower than her preliminary result. The 200-yard IM is known as a monster along with the 500- yard. Mastering the IM would mean mastering all four styles of swim, which is improbable at the high school level.

Hagemann continued her aqueous assault in St. Peters; laying down a second place finish in the 100-yard Backstroke. She swam just 0.03 seconds slower than her preliminaries with a time of 59.03.
I’d say Hagemann was Webster’s anchor and was warding off any other competitors with these fast times and crucial placements.

The final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. Judging by the results I’ve written about, how’d you expect they did? Seventh? Fifth? Well, your guesses aren’t good enough. Webster placed second. Yes, you heard that right. Second.

In order of swimming, Ragan, Howard, Kempf and Hagemann dropped their preliminary time by three seconds and scraped under 3:40.00 with a time of 3:39.05. This race was do or die, and the women’s swimming team delivered.

Just a reminder: last year, women’s swim got 28th out of 49. This year seventh out of 43, so before you buy ticket to a basketball game, remember that the Webster U’s swimming pool is full of champions, and unfortunately, empty of fans.

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