ST. LOUIS — The Rock Bridge and Hickman girls swim teams were defeated by state powerhouse Parkway South for the third time each this season in a double dual meet Saturday morning, but coach John Hamilton wasn’t worried about the meets’ outcome.
“I would rather get some hard questions answered and lose, than win and still not know where our strength as a team is,” said Hamilton, who coaches both the Rock Bridge and Hickman teams. “The whole season is tuning and getting ready. It’s nice to win sometimes, but it doesn’t mean as much to me anymore, not as much as answering those questions and the satisfaction of the girls.”
Hamilton used the meet to shuffle his lineup, continuing a strategy he’s used all season. Only about three quarters of the teams’ swimmers swam their strongest events, which Hamilton said keeps them fresh and focused.
“The state qualifiers want to back away from their main events, take a breather and come back stronger before state,” Hamilton said. “If they can drop time in their off-events, it’s a confidence builder for their main events at state.”
Both teams have already begun to lighten their workload in the run-up to the state meet, a practice known as tapering.
“Where we are in training was a question, and that’s been answered,” Hamilton said. “We looked a little tired today, and we need to start resting on a faster scale than what we’ve been doing.”
Hamilton also said the meets against Parkway South, which the Patriots won 129-49 over Hickman and 96.5-83.5 over Rock Bridge, gave him an opportunity to examine his 400 meter free relay team.
“It’s constantly a fine-tuning thing,” Hamilton said. “We’ve never been at full strength in meets this year. If we have all pistons firing, we could definitely improve on last year’s 10th-place finish at state.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re in the top four,” Hamilton said about his Rock Bridge team. “We’re hoping that after the smoke clears, we’re right after that.”
The Rock Bridge and Hickman teams previously met Parkway South at the Parkway South Invitational Jan. 11-12 and the Springfield Swimming Invitational Jan. 26.