KEARNEY, Mo. — There’s something special in the pool for one metro high school swimming team.
The winning tradition for boys swimming continues this season at Kearney High School as the Bulldogs chase another conference championship. This program has won seven consecutive Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships, dating back to 2015.
Jessa Hahn, Kearney’s second-year head coach, has a challenge that her team is living up to. This year’s Kearney team is young, having lost seven graduating seniors from a year ago when Kearney placed sixth in Missouri Class One. Half of the Bulldogs’ 14 swimmers are new to the program.
“After just a few months of training this year, this young team is stepping up to the plate and they know the foundation set forward for them,” Hahn said.
The swimming tradition at KHS is strong, stemming from an athletic department that’s sent 11 swimmers to individual state championships in its school history. The 2022 edition of this program wants to make its mark as well.
“The way we perform in the pool reflects the way we practice. We’re very professional when we’re practicing. We like to get down to the nitty and gritty of everything we do,” Jake Zingerman, a Kearney senior swimmer, said.
“The upperclassmen we have are willing to teach the lowerclassmen what they’ve learned when they were freshmen. It’s all about coaching and being an upperclassman coach and helping younger kids out,” Lane Austin, Kearney junior swimmer, said.
While Kearney High doesn’t have its own pool for now, the Bulldogs do have plenty of drive and these swimmers continue to set personal bests at meets this season. Defending that conference championship is going to be a challenge, but Coach Hahn says her swimmers are ready to rock.
For the time being, this team uses a rotation of locations to practice. However, Hahn said there’s a plan in place to potentially build a natatorium for Kearney High in the near future.
The Bulldogs competed well at this weekend’s MSHSAA Como Invitational in Columbia, MO. Three Kearney placed in the top 10 in their events.