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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Monett Water Thrashers dominate home meet

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

McKenzie Braden awaits the starting horn. The Water Thrashers hosted the 2011 Monett Invitational swim meet at the Monett pool on Saturday. [Times Photo by Lee Stubblefield]
With 114 swimmers entered in their home meet, the Monett Water Thrashers overwhelmed the competition and won the Monett Invitational with a combined score of 949.5 points. The Joplin Stingrays finished a distant second, scoring 636.5. The field was comprised of 12 swim clubs from Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

Monett also captured the "C" Division with 757.5 points.

"We have 118 swimmers total," said Monett's Christin Janssen. "It's a pretty big team."

Sarah Thomas, a member of the Water Thrashers swim team, reaches for the wall during Saturday's home meet at the Monett Municipal Pool. [Times Photo by Lee Stubblefield]
Besides the throng of athletes in the water, the Thrashers were also represented by an army of volunteers. The daunting task of hosting a meet includes assembling administrators, judges, timers, starters, bullpen organizers, plus concessions workers. The experienced support crew of the home team made it all look easy.

Janssen is blessed with a staff of assistant coaches that sweats the small details and allows her the freedom to give her swimmers any necessary individual attention. She listed her coaches easily:

* Charles LaGarce: "He has coached for quite a while and is the pool manager."

Morgan Grissom adjusts her goggles on the starting block as she prepares to compete for the Water Thrashers during the team's home meet on Saturday. [Times Photo by Lee Stubblefield]
* Dan Janssen, Christin's husband: "We met in college swimming, so it's fun that he helps me coach in the summer."

* Samantha Dohmen, Tandi Glouse amd Kaitlyn Schumacher, former swimmers.

* Elise Meyer: current swimmer.

No surprise that four of Janssen's six coaches are former or current swimmers. Continuity is a big part of her program. Not only keeping and developing individual swimmers but attracting entire families keeps the Water Thrashers moving forward as a competitive force. Ten different families provide three swimmers each (or more).

Club swimming is a remarkable sport in that every swimmer is just as important as the next. That 8-year-old girl swimming the backstroke can score just as many points as the 16-year-old boy in the 200 free. It takes a lot of kids just to cover the different distances and strokes.

The back of the team shirt says it best: "We keep swimming and swimming until we meet our goals."

On this day, the Water Thrashers were at their collective best.

Chloe Ridgely accounted for an astonishing 52 individual points in the girls 15-18 division, and Hannah Martin added 33 more in that same group. Tyler Ash scored 34 points in the boys 13-14 division, Bridie Finch scored 30 points in the 8-and-under girls division, and Logan Umfleet and Matthew Bahl scored 30 and 25 points respectively in the boys 8-and-under group.

The Thrashers dominated in the boys 15-18 division with four swimmers scoring 30 points or more. Carter Huffmaster led with 39, followed by Kurran Blamey with 31, and Tyler Bass and Phillip Roller with 30 each.

In the "C" division, Emma Tucker scored 45 points in the girls 8 and under, while Lauren Siefried scored 39 in the girls 13-14 group.

The Water Thrashers will return to action this weekend, July 2-3 at the Nevada Neptunes Invitational.

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