MUSCATINE, Iowa—To round out a year of marked improvement, the Manta Rays swim team sent 14 athletes to the Regional Championship Swim Meet at the Wellmark YMCA in Des Moines March 18 through 20. The largest swim meet of the year, the Manta Rays competed as part of 548 total swimmers from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. At this year’s meet, two Manta Rays medaled and many others showed great growth at the final meet of the swim season.
Despite the number of competitors, Manta Rays swimmers Kinsley Krieger and Maddox Warren did not feel intimidated and had some of their best swims of the year. Kinsley medaled in both the girls eight and under individual 100-yard individual medley and the 50-yard butterfly, earning second place overall in each. Maddox medaled in the boys 11-12 200-yard breaststroke, coming in third place overall.
Muscatine’s other swimmers had their own times to shine as well. Three swimmers, Audrey Lee, Jaicee Allison, and Owen Lussman, dropped their times noticeably. Audrey improved her 100-yard freestyle time from 1:16:09 to 1:14:94 and her 100-yard butterfly time from 1:33:77 to 1:28:31. Jaicee lowered her 100-yard freestyle time by 5.79 seconds to 1:14.05 and her 100-meter butterfly time by 11.38 seconds to 1:28.31. Owen finished fifth overall and lowered his 100-meter breaststroke time to 1:37.70, an improvement of 3.48 seconds.
Several meet attendees also had some of their personal best swims during the event as well. Birdie Engelkmier had her seasonal best 200-meter freestyle swim with a time of 2:20.30. Whitney Estabrook had a pair of personal best season times with a 2:20.68 200-meter freestyle swim and a 6:17.55 500-meter freestyle swim. Maverick Erwin, who finished fourth overall in the 50-meter backstroke, set a personal record for that event as well with a final time of 36.40.
A challenging meet for even experienced swimmers, Manta Rays Head Coach Jocelyn Paxton felt all of Muscatine’s swimmers competed strongly and handled themselves professionally at the meet. “Overall, our athletes did very well,” she said: “This is a very large, chaotic meet, which is spread out over several days, which can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. Most of our athletes improved their times (total time dropped at the regional meet by our swimmers was 63.63 seconds) made some new friends from other teams, and had a lot of fun!”
Even as the Manta Rays rest from this season’s final competitions, Paxton has already started thinking about next season. If you have a child who would like to swim with the Manta Rays, Paxton encourages you to email her so she can add you to their regular mailing list. Paxton will use this mailing list to share information about the summer programming the team offers.