'Out of their comfort zone,' Poplar Bluff swimmers win home meet

Poplar Bluff senior Haven Phelps swims the breaststroke during a meet Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
DAR/Brian Rosener

POPLAR BLUFF — Three of Poplar Bluff's swimmers were in the 500-yard freestyle for the first time Tuesday while the Mules that might normally swim the butterfly found they were doing the breaststroke instead.

"We wanted to use this as a meet to get them out of their comfort zone and prove to them that they can swim everything from event one to event 12 because that's how we train," Mules coach Beth Lewis-Muse said. "There's no true speciality for them. Their speciality is every single event."

Paige Bradley, Audrey Cisne and Olivia Kirkman each won individual events while the Mules swept the relays to win a five-team meet at the Black River Coliseum Aquatic Center.

Poplar Bluff's 413 points were 139 points better than runner-up Notre Dame as West Plains finished third at 198.

"We just really tried to shake up the lineup because conference is in a couple of weeks," Lewis-Muse said.

Bradley won the 100 freestyle in 1 minute 0.4 seconds and was second in the 200 freestyle after swimming a leg in the previous event, the 200-medley relay, that the Mules won.

Cisne won the backstroke at 1:13.37 and was second in the 200-individual medley with a personal-best time that was 3.16 seconds faster.

Kirkman won the 50 freestyle in 27.59 seconds, finishing 0.75 of a second faster than her previous-best time. The sophomore swam the breaststroke for the first time this year and had the fourth-fastest time, 13.28 seconds quicker than her previous best.

Cisne, Bradley, Kickman and Simone Anders won the opening medley relay in 2:07.27 while teammates Kacey Gregory, Addison Kirkman, Madison Moore and Audrey Rahlmann followed at 2:13.17. Morghyn McCain, Emryn Smith, Bethany Leighty and Haven Phelps were fourth.

Olivia Kirkman, Gabrielle Fortner, Anders and Bradley won the 200-freestyle relay in 1:52.29 while Cisne, Fortner Rahlmann and Gregory won the 400-freestyle relay in 4:19.83, just 0.6 of a second off the team's best time in the event set in a much faster pool Saturday.

Fortner placed second in the 100 breaststroke as the freshman swam the event for the first time. She also placed third in the 200 freestyle in another first attempt.

Anders placed third in the 50 and 100 freestyle events while McCain was 1.65 seconds faster in the backstroke to place third. Leighty cut 7.3 seconds in the butterfly to place third was Addison Kirkman finished third in the breaststroke and cut 10.15 seconds off her time in the butterfly.

Jessica Rush placed third in the 500 at 6:36 while Smith, Gregory and Moore got their first times in the long event. Smith placed fourth while Moore had the fifth-fastest time.

Carly Wiseman placed fourth in both the butterfly and backstroke, Julia Smothers cut 1.02 seconds off her 50 time to place fourth and 7 seconds in the backstroke while Rahlmann was 13.4 seconds faster in the individual medley and 22.7 seconds faster in the butterfly, placing fifth in each race.

Casey Browning was 3.5 seconds faster in the 100 freestyle, Pamela Lagura cut 2.68 seconds in the breaststroke and 4.56 seconds in the 100 freestyle, Moore lowered her 200 freestyle time by 8.64 seconds while Avory Gibbs was 32.8 seconds faster in the 200-IM. Savannah Hicks cut nearly half a second in the 50 and placed sixth in the 100 freestyle. Hall was 23 seconds faster in the butterfly and half a second in the 50 while senior Grace Cram cut 1.32 seconds in the 50.

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