Bruin Swim places runner-up at State

Leah Clark, Co-editor

TUPELO – The Bruin Swim team placed as a runner up at this past State championship.

Previously, the Bruins reigned as 3-time state champions. The team came up short this year placing behind St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. However, this did not come as a shock for head coach Lauri Collins.

“We lost 18 seniors last year,” said Collins. “I knew this season would be a building year without great expectations for State Meet.”

Even though she did not expect to pull out a win, Collins still maintains that the team did their very best.

For the boys’ team, the Bruins saw wins in the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 100 & 200 freestyle, and 200 medley relay. Senior Kenny Thomas was a dominating force at the State Meet.

Thomas has been part of the team for several years now. While he started his swim career before the Bruins, Thomas is considered a leader on team.

He draws on those before me to help the lower class men stating that when he was younger “the older kids on the team pushed me to be better, so I try to do the same.”

At the end of the meet, I cried with Kimmy [Kaiser] and Anna Chris [Nicholas], not because we didn’t win, but because their Bruin swim careers were over.”

— Coach Lauri Collins

Thomas plans to further his swim career into the collegiate level after graduating in the spring of 2020.

The girls’ team came close to winning the meet by 4 points. Key swimmers for the girls were sophomore Arilyn Thomas, senior Anna Chris Nicholas, and junior Elizabeth Weisenberger. All three found themselves on the podium at the meet.

While Weisenberger is not a senior, she has stepped up to help lower class men as well as to create bonding experiences with them. The junior has used this season as practice for next year by coming up with new ideas to implement in practices.

“I’ve been on the team every since seventh grade, and we used to have these team bonding experiences,” she stated. “Even though we still have team breakfasts I, along with Jack [Clements], try to bring more of these experiences with things such as team tattoos.”

Even though the Bruin swim team has used this season as a teaching moment, the team is contempt with their performance. Swimmers have often referred to the team as a family. The State Meet was the Bruins way of displaying that camaraderie.

“At the end of the meet, I cried with Kimmy [Kaiser] and Anna Chris [Nicholas], not because we didn’t win, but because their Bruin swim careers were over,” said Collins.

“That kind of ending makes me forget those early morning alarms and all the paperwork.”