Bootheel Racers Continue Success in the Pool

Thursday, December 3, 2015
Hunter Warren of Portageville.

The Bootheel Racers Swimming program lead by Coach Spence Royer are having a successful 2015-2016 season. The Racers has already hosted a home meet in Caruthersville and traveled to swimming venues in Missouri, Tennessee, and Illinois. Racer Swimming competes in three separate leagues: Mid-South Swim Conference (MSSC), AAU, and USA Swimming. This three league approach keeps Coach Royer busy from a travel standpoint but is the best fit for his emerging a developing program.

The 2015-2016 season marks the second year of Bootheel Racers Swimming. Royer brought swimming to the Bootheel in early 2013 as a part of FAST a team based in St. Louis. But after 20 months of partnership, Coach Spence decided to build a team that paid homage to the area where the athletes train and compete. Royer said, "While we appreciate the FAST organization and how they helped us establish swimming in our area, I felt like it was time to create a team that represents more effectively the people on our team and our area-namely the Bootheel."

"So we launched Racers Swimming in September of 2014 and our progress has been remarkable. Today we are a team of nearly 60 athletes with a core identity that speaks to who we are. We proudly represent the Missouri Bootheel and Southeast Missouri at competitions across the Midwest and Mid-South. "

The Racers have continued to establish a strong presence in the MSSC league based in Memphis, TN. Last year the Racers were able to secure Third place as a team at the MSSC Championships in Tunica, MS. "This year will be a tough battle at the Championships in February," said Royer. The Racers return many of their top point scorers and will make a statement in Mississippi but the league continues to grow and become more competitive each year. The levels of talent and speed in the league continue to advance year over year. However, Royer and the Racers welcome the challenge and will do their best to represent our area in early February. The team has two remaining regular season meets: one in Paris, TN and a home meet at the Diane Sayre Rec Center on January 10th.

Missouri Winter AAU Swimming continues to be a work in progress. Coach Royer presented his winter concept to the Board of the Southeast Missouri Swim Conference (SMSC) in early 2015. The SMSC league is comprised of teams from: Kennett, Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, Scott City, Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Perryville, St. Genevieve, and Farmington. Until this year, the league has never offered winter swimming. Royer saw the need for this option in this area and sold the league on his ideas. Thus far there have been two winter meets: one in Caruthersville and one at Southeast Missouri State University. In early 2016 the league will offer competitions in Sikeston, Cape, and Caruthersville. When asked about the new league Royer said, "I am happy with the initial progress of the winter league. We have more work to do but my hope is that the concept will gain traction in our area and will continue to grow. I feel strongly that winter AAU swimming is a great product for Southeast Missouri and I will do what I can to insure its continuance."

The Racers are also achieving excellence at the USA Swimming level of the sport. USA Swimming is considered the benchmark of competitions across the US. In fact our Olympic team will come out of the USA Swimming product. Thus far the Racers have traveled to TN, MO, and IL for USA sponsored competitions and have done quite well against the best of the best in our region.

Most notably Hunter Warren of Portageville traveled to Edwardsville, IL to represent the Racers at the coveted Ozark "A" Championships held at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center. Swimmers have to qualify for this meet via challenging time standards.

In his first "A" Champs competed in 3 events: 50 Free, 100 Free, and 200 Free. And his results were quite impressive to say the least. At Championship meets all events are swam in the morning with the Top 8 times/athletes being invited back that evening to swim the event again.

To make "finals" is a huge honor and Warren was able to achieve this level in all three events ranking him amongst some of the best swimmers in MO and IL.

"Hunter completely blew away my expectations at this meet. He performed well under pressure and drastically improved his times in all three events. And to earn Top honors in all 3 of his events is amazing. His progression in the sport has been remarkable and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the months and years to come," said Royer.

Championship meet season is quickly approaching for the Racer program. In early February, they will travel to Tunica MS for the MSSC Championships and will see if they can improve on their 3rd place team finish from last year. At the end of February, the Racers will travel to St. Peters, MO for the Ozark Swimming Division 1 Championships.

Right now the Racers have four athletes that have qualified for this meet: Adam Loyd, Anna Loyd, Laney Stone, and Hunter Warren. In Mid March the younger Racers will travel to Pattonville High School in St. Louis for the Ozark 8 and Under Championships. As of now Max Warren, Emily Loyd, Jaelyn Rollins, and Emaelee Nelson are slated to attend this competition.

The Bootheel Racers Swim Team, based in Caruthersville, MO

Coach Royer says that the public is welcome to come out and support Racer Swimming at home meets on January 10th and March 26th. The Racer program continues to grow and improve. If you have an interest in Racer Swimming for your kids please contact Coach Spence at 573-333-0031 or swimcoachspence@yahoo.com