Blue Springs senior swimmer Shaedyn Read admits that it was difficult to get going at the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign.

She was coming off surgery in the offseason, which involved bone spurs being removed from one of her feet. Thus, she was not able to go through her regular training regimen with Kansas City Swim Academy as she had to stop swimming for a month and a half.

That led to Read being rusty at the beginning of the high school season. However, even after a slow start, Read was able to put together a career year.

She finished second in the 500 freestyle (5 minutes, 8.63 seconds) and led the 400 free relay team to an all-state seventh-place finish (3:40.80) at the Class 2 Missouri State High School Girls Swimming and Diving Championships. She also finished 20th at state in the 200 freestyle (2:01.44).

Because of her stellar season, Read has repeated as the 2018-19 Examiner Girls Swimmer/Diver of the Year.

“It started off a little bit rough, but my goal was to get top three (at state) coming into the season,” Read said. “But I turned it around at the end of the season.”

Read said she wasn’t back to training like she normally does until the beginning of the high school season after having surgery last May, during the last week of school. She had to use crutches and a scooter for close to two months.

“I am used to having a lot of yards swam going into the season because I swim with my club team,” Read said. “I felt like I was at a disadvantage compared to other seasons.”

Bigham said the challenge of starting her training late was especially challenging given that she’s a distance swimmer.

“She had to work herself into shape during the high school season, and that’s not an easy feat,” Blue Springs coach Kevin Bigham said. “For her to finish second at state after getting such a late start in her training just shows you how talented of a swimmer she is.

“You couldn’t even tell that she came into the season a little later than she’s used to. She did a great job of working and improving. She did everything she needed to do to finish second at state.”

By her standards, her times weren’t up to par in her first few races of the season. It wasn’t until the Suburban Big Six Conference Championships meet late in the season when she started to feel like herself again.

At that meet, she finished her career undefeated in individual competitions in the conference. She won the 500 freestyle (5:10.59) and the 200 freestyle (1:58.98).

“I was not expecting that,” Read said of her times at Big Six meet. “I didn’t think I would get my best times at conference.”

Those results boosted her confidence for the state meet, where she finished second in the 500 after taking fourth the year before.

“I was jumping up and down and pumping my fists,” Bigham said of his reaction to Read taking second. “I was really excited. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”

Bigham said a big reason for the best finish of her career was her stark improvement on her turns.

“The day I started coaching at Blue Springs, I said, ‘Shaedyn, if we can get those turns down, you’re going to set the world on fire.’ Then it all came together at state,” Bigham said. “She had her legs overextended on her turns for the last year. Shaedyn made the decision at the beginning of the season that she was going to improve on her turns. She made them shorter, get those feet over quicker and her legs snapped at the wall.”

After capping an outstanding high school career, Read now turns her attention to swimming for Lindenwood University, an NCAA Division II program in St. Charles, Mo.

“I am looking forward to it. It will be a lot different,” Read said. “Even at Lindenwood, there are swimmers from other countries on the team. I just want to lower all my times and qualify for nationals.”