Corinne Rinne, the two-time state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, was seeking the perfect place to continue her swimming career in college, and she found it the moment she stepped foot on the campus of Drury University in Springfield, Mo.
“It's perfect,” Rinne said following her signing ceremony Wednesday morning in the Wildcat Room at Blue Springs High School. “It a Division I program with a small-school feel, and it's in a great city.
“I love the campus, the coaches, I felt at home there. I can't wait to attend Drury.”
She defended her 100 breaststroke title and placed 10th in the 200 individual medley to lead the Wildcats to an eighth-place finish at the Missouri State High School Swimming and Diving Championships in February. She also earned all-state honors with a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay with teammates Leigh Ana Dietiker, Lindsey Meyer and Ashley Sturman.
Many of her coaches, family members and friends attended the intimate ceremony inside the Wildcat Room, but it was head coach Bill Shalley who stole the show.
“She's all right,” quipped Shalley. “Seriously, we're going to miss her. She was an outstanding individual swimmer for Blue Springs High School and a part of some very good relay teams. I know she is going to do well at Drury. It is a good fit for her.”
Former Wildcats co-head coach Robert Sturman, who coaches Rinne in club swimming, agreed with Shalley.
“She is going to flourish at Drury,” Sturman said. “I am really proud of her. I know everyone here today is proud of her.”
Rinne, a former all-state cross country runner, is now competing as a member of the Blue Springs track team that placed second at state last season by 1.5 points.
“It's so special for me and the track team that Corinne came out this season, because we all know her main focus is swimming,” head track coach Jennifer Reeder said. “She can run anything from the 200 to the two mile – which is so rare today – and I just love to see her get that baton in the 4x400 relay.
“I worked with the distance runners the other day, and she is such a great leader and such a positive person. She works so hard, yet she always manages to smile.”
Rinne said she never considered not competing for the track team this season.
“I've loved every minute of my time at Blue Springs High School,” she said. “The state championships are nice, because I love competition. But what is really special is the relationships you form with your coaches and your teammates.
“We placed second in track last season, and I wanted to come back to help the team be successful again this season. I will concentrate on swimming at Drury, but I am really enjoying my final track season.”