BY KENNEDY SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY BY STRAIN PHOTOGRAPHY
Swimming is a sport that doesn’t often get a lot of attention. It doesn’t attract large crowds and doesn’t necessarily have an immersive game day atmosphere like football and basketball. However, a team of Lady Cat swimmers recently made history at the Conference swim meet February 8. Brooklyn Anderson, Jameson Tankersley, Madden Cabantac, and Lydia McClugage broke a record, attracting the spotlight and attention of Wampus Cat athletics.
These four athletes won first place and broke a school record for the 200 Medley Relay at their conference meet, held at Bishop Park in Bryant on Tuesday, February 8. The event, which includes a backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle, is unique in that it combines teamwork
and speed. “We all play a part in the event,” Tankersley said. “In order for it to be a good race, all four of us have to be swimming our strokes to the best of our ability.” It’s also the only event that requires different
strokes to compete in a single competition. McClugage recalls how high their anticipation was the day of the meet. “This was the first event
of the meet (after diving) and there was very high energy surrounding it!” The Conway team finished with an impressive time of 1:50.60.
This wasn’t Anderson or Tankersley’s first experience with shattering expectations. In addition to holding a number of records in other events, the previous record in this event was broken two years ago by them and teammates Allie Rogers and Emily Holman. Anderson says that breaking the record in this event twice makes it more meaningful. “It shows [that] new opportunities are arising and [that] swimmers are getting faster,” she said and went on to say it’s exciting to share the legacy of holding a record on the Conway Swim record with her relay teammates,” said Anderson, as this is one of many
records that she has broken during her time swimming for Conway.
The achievement was particularly indicative of a promising future for Cabantac, who is a freshman this year. She said,”For me, it’s my first school record so it’s pretty exciting. But it was definitely a team event and we all had a part in breaking that record.”
The dynamics between the four girls are remarkable considering this is the first year they’ve been teammates at all. “I haven’t been with Conway very long, but everyone on the team has been so sweet to me though I am new in their circle,” McClugage said. “All three of the girls are super encouraging and give me hope before and after the race. I really think the team spirit led to our success.”
It seems like their success was the perfect combination of camaraderie and performance. Tankersley said, “The four of us make a really good team, obviously. That race was perfect, we were all on our A game that day. We had a goal and we accomplished it.”
Moving ahead, this relay team, along with the rest of the Conway Swim Team are already looking ahead to the state meet on February 26. It will be the final meet as Wampus Cats for Tankersley and Anderson. They are both choosing to continue their academic and swim careers in college next year:
Tankersley at Ouachita Baptist and Anderson at Southern Illinois University. “For state, I hope to get some personal bests, race hard, and have fun at my last highschool swim meet,” said Anderson.
Regardless of the outcome, they have secured themselves in the record books at Conway High School. “Anytime a school record is broken, it’s a huge accomplishment. I am very proud of these four young ladies. This is a deserving honor for all of the hard work they have put in and will be something they treasure the rest of their lives,” said Swim & Dive Coach Craig Conner.
ABOUT THE WRITER
KENNEDY SMITH is the editor for the Wampus Cat Student News site, and is also one of the yearbook editors. She is involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Club, Caring Cats, National Honors Society, Student Council, and Quill and Scroll. Kennedy is also a member of the CHS Varsity Cheer team, and is an intern for the Conway Athletic Department. She is a member of Delta Beta Sigma Social Sorority, where she is the Vice President of Sisterhood. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends, shopping, writing, watching sports, and cheering on the Conway Wampus Cats. Kennedy hopes to attend the University of Arkansas and get a degree in Broadcast Journalism with an emphasis in sports.
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