The Waves competed in the Division 1 Ozark LSC Championships in St. Peters, MO February 28 – March 1. Nine athletes participated in the USA swim meet with Avery Miller winning two individual events for the first time in the program’s history.
Miller placed first in 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard individual medley, second in 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle events, and third in 200-yard individual medley. He also finished 11th in 500-yard freestyle and 14th in the 50-yard breaststroke.
“It was inspiring to see Avery step up and compete with athletes from larger teams from around the state of Missouri and Illinois,” said Waves head coach Kristi Sheridan. “Avery had a perfect race in the 50-yard freestyle, out touching his competitor by 0.01 [one one-hundredth of a second]. It is very satisfying as a coach to see what you practice every week come together for a big win under tremendous pressure. This was our first swimmer in Wave history to win an event at the Ozark Championships. Avery is a very coachable athlete and always wants to find a way to be faster. These young athletes have significantly benefited from year-round training, and we are excited to be noticed on the state level. Two years ago we had one athlete qualify for this high-level meet. This year we had 11 qualifiers. This shows tremendous progress in a short amount of time with limited time in the pool compared to larger, big city programs. Swimming is another great activity for the youth in our community and we are excited to see our program succeed on the state level.”
Other finalists in the division championship meet included Josiah Spurling who finished 13th in 50-yard butterfly and 15th in 100-yard butterfly and Gwen Fiorino who finished 13th in the 50-yard butterfly finals. The Waves qualified their first relay to a division meet. The team of Paige Sheridan, Evie Niesen, Riley Spurling and Audrey Land finished 13th in the 200-yard medley relay and 15th in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“It is encouraging to see these young athletes compete at this level with such determination and sportsmanship,” said Coach John Niesen. “We have a promising group of swimmers that have tremendous potential in high school and even as collegiate athletes. Some of them are already close to making state high school qualifying times at these young ages.”
Athletes qualifying for the meet included: Gwendolyn Fiorino, Roslyn Fiorino, Savannah Holt, Audrey Land, Avery Miller, Evie Niesen, Josiah Spurling, Riley Spurling, Paige Sheridan, Emma Tugwell, and Austin Young. These 14-year-old and younger athletes qualified for the Ozark Championship meet by achieving a USA swimming BB time cut or faster.
The following swimmers helped break 13 Waves team records in their age division reflecting significant growth and development of the Waves program: Avery Miller broke the 11-12 year old boys Wave record in 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, and 100-yard individual medley; Pagie Sheridan broke the 13-14 year old girls Wave record in 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke; Gwen Fiorino broke the 9-10 year old girls Wave record in the 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard butterfly; Josiah Spurling broke the 9-10 year old boys Wave record in 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly, and 100-yard butterfly.
“Winning events at the Ozark Championships is just icing on the cake,” said Coach Joe Fiorino. “The Waves Swim Club is passionate about teaching our area youth how to swim while developing their character in and outside of the pool.”