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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer swim team thrashing forward in Monett

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Christin Janssen, at left, new head coach of the Monett Water Thrashers, walked the sidelines of the Monett Municipal Swimming Pool this week, providing direction to ready her squad for the competition season ahead. [Times Photos by R.K. Wilson]

With less splash in the wake of founder Ginny Fuldner's departure two years ago, the Monett Water Thrashers swim team has found leadership anew in team manager Christin Janssen.

Janssen, 29, moved here a year ago from Western Michigan, via New Guinea. The Grand Valley State University swimmer was set to mother her three little ones fulltime while husband Dan taught math and physics at Monett High School. But having him home for the summer was the chance for her to get back into the pool.

Her query last summer produced an assistant position with the Water Thrashers. Fast forward to the winter and the team's board, made up of parents, reached out for her to become head coach.

Like magic dust, a website has now grown the team to 140 kids, up from 125 participants a year ago. Ages range from 5-18, with a teenage group and the younger group of kids.

"Our theme this year is 'swimming with excellence' -- doing the little things right," said Janssen. "We're keeping the tradition of the Water Thrashers, but want to build on it."

Ten competitive meets are scheduled, beginning with a trip to Branson on June 5 and concluding with the A Division championship at Siloam Springs, Ark., on Aug. 7 and the B Division championship at Claremore, Okla., on July 30.

Juniors compete in six swimming events, seniors in seven.

Going up against competition with the luxury of year-round training in indoor swimming pools has always demanded an extra effort for the Water Thrashers to remain competitive, as they did with a block of nine repeat tri-state championships under Fuldner.

"We do well playing catch up with the towns that have indoor pools," said Janssen.

Pool manager Charles LaGarce and recent Monett High graduate Sarah Schmidt assist Janssen, beginning with daily morning practices.

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