The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Senior Swimmers take their last lap


August 8, 2018

There are three senior swimmers and like other sports, seniors take their last walk around the pool. This year we have three seniors, Jenna Leader, Sophia Reichelt, and Lainey Gregory. A senior in swimming doesn't mean they are seniors in high school only that they have enough years of swimming in to be celebrated as a Senior.

Jenna, has been swimming for 14 years. Yes, 14 years! She started swimming in Fort Benton for seven years before swimming in Big Sandy for seven years. Coach Travis Baumann said, "She has been a huge asset. She comes from a swimming family. She has what it takes to make the commitment. She is the role model for commitment. She most certainly could have scholarships to swim at a college level, but she has other dreams to follow." Through tears she said her last races were "relieving, but sad!" Her passion came from "being born into it." "It was fun to have friends all around the state." Her advice to the young swimmers would be to "learn all the strokes and try every event." "There will be a lot of things that you don't think you're doing good at, so it makes you upset, but honestly try different races and find what makes you the happiest, because it isn't all about winning but finding what you like the most."

High school Junior Lainey Gregory has also swum for seven years for the Big Sandy Barracudas. Coach Baumann said "It's heart breaking for me, (that she wants to retire) but she wanted to swim with Jenna and finish with Jenna. It won't be the same.

We will miss her dearly. She always makes practice really fun. She helps. Both Lainey and Jenna and have run practice for me." Lainey said, although she hasn't swum for 14 years, seven years is still a long time. "I am at the pool at least half my day every single day all summer long. I have practice, then swim lessons, then I work here. It will be nice to have a break." Lainey said. She loves working with the kids, and is more than willing to help them. "If they need help I'll always be there to help them." Her advice to the young swimmers would be to "stick with it." "Don't just do a year, keep working at it. And it gets better!"

Coach Baumann said, "Sophia Reichelt started with us when we started the team seven years ago. She swam with us a couple of years and then decided she wanted to be done. This spring she came to me asking if she could swim again, and I said absolutely. She said she wanted to finish it out. She jumped in to the morning practice which is difficult having not been here for four years, but she has no complaints. She gets right in does her work and when we get to the meets, she is having so much fun. She's smiling the whole time. She's smiling up on the block, she smiles while she is swimming to the detriment of her times. But she doesn't care that's not why she is here. She's here to meet people, to enjoy the team that we have, and enjoy meeting people from other towns. She just wants to finish what she has started. She's great. She's a huge asset to the team. The young kids just adore her and all over her. She's a mother figure to those kids. She's a tall lady, there is nothing kid about her. She is an adult. She's just awesome. "This whole season was so much fun for me", Sophia said, "I needed something to do for the summer, because it turns out I'm really lazy. But I remembered that a lot of my really good friends are on the team. Always having a sense of community no matter where you are at is just a nice thing to have. I just liked to have a productive summer and being with the people I love the most-spending the summer weekends with them as really been fun.

"I am going to dearly miss these three girls. Besides their contribution to the team, not just their points but the dynamics of the team will drastically change. They are a huge integral part of this team. The camaraderie will be effected. The swimming family will greatly be affect, not just because of the girls, but their parents have been and continue to be major workers for the team. Giving so much of their time for the team", said Travis Baumann on an ending thought.


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