To those outside the sport, swimming is often described as an “individual sport.” This year the Lady Knights Swim and Dive senior captains, Kasey Roberts, Jessie Metz, Maddie Foster and Josie Burns set out to show they were first and foremost a team. To inspire their teammates, they chose the words of legendary Coach Phil Jackson, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of the team is the individual.” With those words in mind they set their team goals and then went on to be the most successful swim/dive team in school history. In the course of the season, one by one the Knights checked off each goal; repeating Mississippi 8 Conference Champs, JV Conference Champs, True Team Section Champs, and finally Section 8AA Section Champions. The successful section meet sent a full contingent on to the state meet where the team shined as bright as the medals around their necks.
After finishing 16th in both the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relays in 2012, the Knights arrived with a plan to grab some real estate on the podium. The 200 Medley Relay consisting of Carly Roberts (back), Kasey Roberts, (breast), Kristen Pieper (fly) and Lexi Heil (free) did just that with an 8th place finish in 1.48.87, earning All-State honors and an All-American Consideration prelim time. The teams’ strongest relay the 200 Free Relay of Carly Roberts, Lexi Heil, Maddie Gallagher and Kasey Roberts was up second. Buoyed by their high finish in the 200 Medley, the girls confidently stepped behind the block and posted a second All-American Consideration time of 1.37.23 for their second All-State Honors and 5th place. High school meets begin and end in a relay and last up was the 400 Free Relay team of Carly Roberts, Taylor Pehrson, Lexi Heil and Maddie Gallagher. In the schools first year qualifying this relay, the girls scored points and put up a respectable 3.37.01 for a 15th place finish.
Top finishes for individuals were Kasey Roberts and Emma Lezer in the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Breaststroke. Emma’s future with the Knights is shining bright as the 7th grader finished 16th in the 200 IM and 15th in the 100 Breast. Kasey the returning state champion in the 200 IM posted her best career times in both events for third place in each and earning Automatic All-American honors in both events.
Although disappointed to not repeat her state championship, Kasey had the following to say about the meet, “Our biggest goal all year and for my entire swim career was to medal as a team at the state meet. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates for coming together on not one, but two relays and medaling. Standing on a podium with my sister Carly, Maddie, Kristin and Lexi was just awesome!”
The Knights team finished in 11th place. Looking ahead to next year the Knights are optimistic about where they will stand; all state qualifiers, medalists and relay participants will return with the exception of seniors Kasey Roberts and Jessie Metz. The future of Knights Swim/Dive is bright indeed.