Annemarie Rehbein saw no need for panic. The Blue Springs junior, after all, had been in this situation before.
Sitting fifth after the butterfly and backstroke legs of the 200-yard individual medley final in the Suburban Big Six Championships girls swim meet, Rehbein didn’t worry. The third leg of the 200 IM is the breaststroke, and that just happens to be her strong suit.
By the time she finished the breaststroke, Rehbein was back in the race and on her way to the the first of her three gold medals she collected Saturday at the Gladstone Community Center.
Rehbein further emphasized her breaststroke prowess by winning the 100 breaststroke later in the meet. She capped her day by swimming the third leg on the Wildcats’ victorious 400 freestyle relay.
And while Rehbein didn’t look so dominant in her first race, Blue Springs coach Kevin Bigham knew not to be concerned. Well, he was a touch concerned.
“To be honest, we were a little bit more behind than we were expecting,” Bigham said. “But we also know that’s how Annemarie does it, that’s how Annemarie rolls. So we expected her to make the comeback she did and it was really cool to see it come to fruition.”
After tearing through the field in the breaststroke, Rehbein held off Lee’s Summit West’s Lydia Grider in the freestyle leg for a winning time of 2 minutes, 16.07 seconds. Rehbein came in with the fastest prelim time of 2:16.99.
“I caught everyone but the girl next to me in my breaststroke, so then it was just a race – truly a race,” Rehbein said.
Rehbein dominated the 100 breaststroke with a 1:07.21 clocking after going 1:06.73 in the prelims. She joined Jenna Wright, Sydney Franklin and I’yana Foster to hold off rival Blue Springs South in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:42.85.
Foster also finished second in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle and Wright took second in the 200 freestyle for Blue Springs, which finished fourth in the team standings with 308 points.
“We’re in the toughest conference in the state,” Bigham said. “Getting fourth in a conference like this usually is good for first or second in most other conferences.”
Blue Springs South didn’t have an individual champion Saturday but still placed third with 364 points behind Lee’s Summit West (453) and Park Hill (421). South coach Errich Oberlander said that just shows how deep the Jaguars are this season.
“We have a balanced team throughout our freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes,” Oberlander said. “Our freshmen really stepped up in their first conference meet (in Friday’s prelims) and that was encouraging to see.”
Maelyn MacLean took home the top individual medal for South with her second-place finish in the 500 freestyle. Anna Zweerink placed third in both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while Regi Hecker took third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 freestyle.
Lee’s Summit North, which finished fifth with 292 points, had a double winner in Anna Hess. A freshman, Hess won the 100 butterfly in 58.91 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 58.97.
“I felt pretty good,” Hess said. “Even though they weren’t my best times I still felt pretty fast.”
North also finished second in the 200 medley and fourth in the 200 freestyle relay.
SMALL SEVEN: Grain Valley finished third behind powerhouses Platte County and Kearney in the Suburban Small Seven Championships. The Eagles totaled 339 points to place behind Platte County (518) and Kearney (467).
Maddie Epple led the Eagles with a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle. Rachel Turpin was second in the 100 backstroke and fourth in the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle relay team also took fourth.
“They did amazing today,” Grain Valley coach Kara Liddle said. “We’re at probably 95 percent best times, and those that didn’t drop were at their best times so I’m super happy.”
“For being a second-year program, I’m thrilled.”