Trojans win one, lose one on senior day
The UALR swimming and diving team welcomed Southern Illinois University and Ouachita Baptist University to the Donaghey Aquatics Center on senior day, Jan. 18.
Kara Raney, Samantha Thompson, and Hope and Holly Myers were all greeted by their parents, teammates and friends prior to the meet to honor their time served in the program. Each student athlete received a flower bouquet, balloons, homemade posters and a gift bag.
Raney said the senior meet is something of a bittersweet moment for her, knowing that four years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication has paid off, but it’s something she knows she will always remember.
“Senior night really brings it all together. We are finally going to graduate and you just remember all the good times you’ve had for four years,” Raney said. “It’s sad. But, it’s a happy moment that we’ve made it this far.”
“We’ve worked this hard to come here and have our senior meet. Watching everyone else go through,” Raney said, remembering the times she helped send off previous seniors, “when [senior meet] finally comes, it’s sad. It’ll be nostalgic.”
Raney and her teammates used the pre-meet festivities as motivation during the meet, which was enough to earn them a 120-94 win against OBU. However, the team fell to SIU 177-60.
Sophomore Valeriya Teplova and Freshman Erin Trumbach scored two individual wins for the Trojans.
Teplova won the 100 freestyle, finishing at the 53-second mark, out-touching the second-place finisher by a tenth of a second.
The team also had a number of second-place finishers.
Raney and freshman Courtney Coe competed in the 200-medley relay, finished at the 1:49.18 mark.
Teplova, Coe, Raney and junior Meghan Petersen added another second place finish for the team in the 200 free relay, clocking in at 1:39.73.
Freshman Jinson Kang added a pair of second place finishes for the team, swimming nearly identical times in the 200 individual medley and 200 butterfly (2:13.14 and 2:13.73, respectively) events.
Raney earned a third place finish in the 50 freestyle, touching the wall in 24.61.
Holley Myers nabbed a pair of fourth-place finishes for the team. She finished at the 2:01.84 mark in the 200 freestyle and 2:12.67 in the 200 backstroke.
Head coach Amy Burgess said after seeing her team compete at senior day and watching them work on their annual winter training trip in Florida, she knows what needs tweaking and what needs to change.
“Every meet, we always see little things that we can work on,” Burgess said. “I think that as the year goes on, we start to fine tune those things.”
“It gets to this point in the year where we’re like, ‘Ok, you’re still doing that and it’s getting better but we’ve got to work on this.”
“You know coming off of a training trip is tough. It really is. It’s always hit or miss and we don’t know what to expect. The girls stepped up and raced and they’re learning how to race while you’re tired and still push through.”
Following the senior meet, the team traveled to Burgess’ alma matter, Kansas University in Lawrence, Kan. UALR lost the Jan. 25 meet 148-96. The team traveled back home and competed against Rice the next morning at 10:30 a.m.