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Hickman girls swimming takes on another season as one big family.

Kieran Malloy

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Every morning, before the sun stretches its morning rays onto Hickman’s rooftop, you can find a group so dedicated to being ready to compete and bettering themselves, regardless of how frigid the water feels.

The Hickman Girls swim team is often overlooked, but that does not stop them from annually securing themselves as one of the powerhouse programs in Mid-Missouri. Swimming is extremely demanding and strenuous, requiring complete commitment.

“Playing sports in high school in general is really tough, but with swimming I’d say it’s a lot more difficult than other sports because it’s really physically demanding and it requires a lot of discipline with our early morning practices,” explained senior swimmer Sloane Smith.

With such a demanding schedule the lady kewps become extremely close over the course of the season.

“We know how to all have fun together but also when to focus and get serious,” said junior Grace Beahan. “I think of us as a big family because we spend so much time as a group and go through good times and bad times together.”

Beahan comes from a family of swimmers. You would have been able to find at least one of the Beahan sisters in the pool early in the morning since 2012. With such a swim dominant legacy, the pressure of sisterly competition has fueled them to establish themselves as a staple in the Hickman program.

“I think being in my family has helped me be committed from an young age because I always saw what the expectation was to be in the sport from seeing my sisters do it,” said Beahan. “It sometimes results in some good competition between my sister and I, but we are always each other’s biggest fans no matter what!”

The Hickman swim team is unique in that Hickman is one of the only schools in Missouri with a “home pool” advantage. Having their own pool is a huge motivator and and creates a sense of passion and pride not often found on other teams.

“Hickman swimming is like no other program I’ve swam with before. Having a swim team for a high school isn’t common, and it’s a privilege that we have our own pool that is so close,” explained Smith. “Having so many girls from the same area who enjoy the same things as me, has made it possible to express my passion for swimming.”

Given the commitment to the team needed to excel and the winning atmosphere established at Hickman, the girls on the kewpie team take away much more than sore legs and a bad case of swim cap head from each practice.

“Because of swimming, I hold myself a lot more accountable for when it comes to how hard I work. A lot of the sport is getting new personal records, so you have to really push yourself,” said Smith. “Because it gives you both worlds of a team and individual sport, it’s made me a stronger teammate, but also has given me a competitive edge to want to be better than those I swim against.”

Beahan concurred with her teammate’s reflection.

“Swimming has changed me as a person by teaching me perseverance,” Beahan said. “It has made me see the value in hard work and effort and that when the work is put in, it will come back to you through your achievements, even if it isn’t immediate. I value this lesson so much because it helps me when it comes to swimming as well as life outside of swim.”

The phrase “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is fully embraced by the Hickman Swim team. Hickman differs from many schools in that they practice and swim everyday with their rival school’s swimmers. Sharing a practice area with the Bruins would be considered unthinkable to most other Hickman squads, but the Hickman girls swim team has found the silver lining in the situation and used it to make themselves even more elite.

“Practicing with Rockbridge is really beneficial to our team,” said Smith. “Because their girls are so talented and fast, it gives us a great chance for us to get up and race in practice. Both of our teams push each other really hard, and I think that’s why Team CoMo always dominates at meets.”

The Lady Kewpie swimmers will continue their season and hope to have an impact at the state meet in only a few short weeks. The word dedication is an understatement when it comes to describing the work that the girls swimmers at Hickman have put in, and talented doesn’t come close to describing the level at which that hard work has raised them to. Let’s be honest, what better way is there to start your day than beating a Bruin on your home turf?

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