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Members of Bolivar’s swim team pose for a photo at the SWMO Championships meet. 

Lady Liberator swimming wrapped up its 2020-21 season at the SWMO Championships swim meet in Springfield on Saturday, Feb. 6, hitting another set of high water marks. 

As a team, Bolivar finished 19th at the meet out of 23 teams with 32 points.

“This is the best finish since the first year of the program, and we were within 7 points of 18th place,” coach Kyle Smith said. 

In 2020, Bolivar was last, scoring just 12 points.

In 2014, Emma Wall, who went on to swim at Missouri State University, scored enough points to put Bolivar in 21st place. Wall swam two events at the state meet that year. 

All three relays made finals this year and placed higher with better results than last year,” Smith said. 

The 200 medley relay of Helen Aug, Natalie Stalker, Leiklin Walker and Kyla Ewing were 13th at the meet and first in their heat. 

Bolivar’s 200 freestyle relay of Walker, Rebekah Harless, Raegan Taylor and Ewing scored 14th place and set a new school record. 

Walker, Taylor, Stalker and Ewing swam to 15th place in the 400 freestyle relay, also setting a school record. 

Two of Bolivar’s relays — the 200 and 400 freestyle events — made the state consideration qualifying time, Smith said. Technically, it means both relays qualified for state, but to actually be selected for the state meet, the Lady Liberators would have had to clock a still faster, “automatic” time, he said. 

Only those with the top 24 consideration times were picked this year, Smith said. 

“We can technically say we qualified for state,” he said. 

Bolivar also had a trio of events finish in the top 30. 

Taylor swam 2:34.40 to 24th in the 200 freestyle and 6:45.21 for 25th in the 500 freestyle. Both were good enough for a school record, Smith said. 

Harless was 26th in the 200 individual medley.

Smith said the program will graduate two seniors — Aug and McKendree Bibeau.  

“Helen has been a rock for our program the two years I've been coach, and McKendree has a unique personality that keeps me laughing,'' Smith said. “They are both going to go on to do better things and be successful.”

A heavy majority of Smith’s roster is sophomores, he said. 

“We are very excited about the growth and future of the program,” he said. “We are encouraging girls on the team and girls in the community to get involved and join the summer swim team at the Bolivar Aqua Zone this year, so that we can continue to compete at a higher level moving forward.”

Smith said this year’s progress has only made the team even more motivated.

“The determination and goals that were set and achieved this year have definitely left us with a very successful season,” he said. “Yet, I know the girls themselves have even higher goals and want to keep pushing to the next level and the next and the next.”

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