Back in the pool: Jaguars top shorthanded Wildcats in return from quarantine

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Blue Springs South's Micaela Richards swims to a victory in the 100-yard butterfly in Wednesday's meet against rival Blue Springs. The Jaguars won just five of 12 events but claimed the team win 179-121.

A shorthanded Blue Springs team won more events, but the fresh-off-of-quarantine Blue Springs South squad prevailed.

The Jaguars topped the rival Wildcats 179-121 in a girls swimming dual held Wednesday morning at the Blue Springs South Aquatic Center. And the Jaguars did that just hours after coming off a 14-day quarantine that ended earlier that day.

Blue Springs South held a two-hour practice prior to the start of the dual to get ready – or as ready as it could be.

“We haven’t been in the water for two weeks so we had practice this morning hopefully to knock a little rust off,” Blue Springs South coach Errich Oberlander said. “It is good to be back in the water. It is good to see them race and have a little fun and cheer for their teammates. Christmas is coming up so we will take a couple more days off. … It is such a weird year. Hopefully we got all of that behind us so we can plow through to the end.”

Blue Springs' Annemarie Rehbein swims to a win in the 100-yard breaststroke in Wednesday's meet at Blue Springs South. Rehbein also claimed a win in the 200 individual medley but the Wildcats, who were missing 15 because of quarantine, fell 179-121 to the Jaguars.

Blue Springs didn’t have a full squad as Kevin Bingham’s squad had 15 girls missing from the lineup. That led to a lot of races in which the Jaguars had more relay teams or swimmers – which led to more points. In the 18 swimmer 50-yard freestyle, only two were from Blue Springs.

Despite the shortened roster, the Wildcats won the first four events.

The 200-yard medley relay – with five Blue Springs South teams and one from Blue Springs – was won by the Wildcats’ team of Kyla Weems, I’yana Foster, Annemarie Rehbein and Lou Bellinghausen in 2 minutes, 4.72 seconds.

Blue Springs' I'yana Foster swims to a victory in the 500-yard freestyle in Wednesday's meet at Blue Springs South. Foster won the 500 by 40 seconds, one of two wins, as the Wildcats won seven events but Blue Springs South prevailed as a team 179-121 because of its depth.

Foster then won the first of her individual events, the 200-yard freestyle in 2:10.93 – a nine-second winning margin. The sophomore’s biggest win, in terms of time, came in the 500 freestyle, where she finished in 5:43.35. That was 40 seconds faster than the runner-up and, at one point, she was on her 20th and final lap and other competitors were on No. 15.

“It was my best times, but I was really tired from training harder than I was last year, but overall I still got first and was helping out my team racking up points,” said Foster, who has already posted a state-qualifying mark in the event.

Annemarie Rehbein won the first of her two individual events in the 200-yard individual medley (2:28.56) and then Shayla Aten won the diving competition.

Blue Springs South's Maelyn MacLean races to a victory in the 100-yard freestyle in Wednesday's meet against rival Blue Springs. The Jaguars, who came off a two-week quarantine earlier in the day and practiced before the meet, topped the Wildcats, who were missing 15 because of quarantine.

Lexi Buckner got the Jaguars in the win column by taking the 8-Jaguar 50-yard freestyle in 28.45 seconds. Micaela Richards (100 butterfly) and Maelyn MacLean (100 freestyle) followed with wins for Blue Springs South.

MacLean, Kara Good, Whitney Pollard and Landry Johnson won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:53.32. South’s last win came from Amy Pollard in the 100 backstroke.

Rehbein won the 100 breaststroke and then she swam the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay (4:12.81), following Weems and Bellinghausen, respectively. Foster swam the final leg and she was about two seconds behind Whitney Pollard, but over the last 50 meters Foster made a move to pass her and win by three seconds.

“I wanted to give it my all,” Foster said. “I was tired. My legs were tired, but I knew I could do it.”

Bigham expects those 15 out due to quarantine to return to practice on Thursday. Three of those gone are swimmers who could be on the top relay. But he was pleased with the results despite missing several.

Blue Springs South's Amy Pollard swims to a victory in the 100-yard backstroke in Wednesday's dual meet against rival Blue Springs. Pollard's win was one of five for the Jaguars, who went on to a 179-121 win.

“There are probably not two more swimmers I would rather have as the last two swimmer than Annemarie and I’yana,” Bigham said. “To go out and win two (relays) shows us what we wanted to see when we have the full squad back.

“We are hoping for a little faster time but we have been training the girls as hard as we can, and they looked like it today. It looks like the hardest week of the year and they had – all things considered – some of the best times. We had a lot of drops and we will definitely be better later in the season when we rest and taper with weeks like that.”

Each team will have a few days off for the holidays. Blue Springs hosts Platte County on Tuesday, while South will host Liberty, Lee’s Summit North, Grain Valley and Belton for a meet starting at 10 a.m. next Wednesday.