COLUMBIA — Saturday during the second day of competition at the Mizzou Invite, the parents of the Tigers swimmers seemed to be just as much a part of the meet as the competitors.
Before the meet began, several of the fathers of the MU swimmers painted their chests with letters spelling out "Mizzou." The announcers at the meet played along, putting “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred on the P.A. system when the shirts came off in the stands.
Paula Lauver, mother of senior Spenser Lauver, was the one who convinced the fathers to make the display of support.
“Coach Rhodenbaugh spoke to all of the parents at a breakfast before the Show-Me Showdown and jokingly said the dads should paint their chests. After it was mentioned again at dinner after (the first day of) the meet, we knew we had to do it,” Paula Lauver said.
Spurred on by the support, the Missouri women's team set three meet records and had a new personal best at Saturday's competition at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.
The Tigers' women's 200-yard medley relay of Cassie Cunningham, Rachel Ripley, Alexis Spivak and Lisa Nathanson set a new meet record in 1:40.33. Amanda Masters' 1:02.36 in the women's 100-yard breaststroke was also a meet record. The women's 800-yard freestyle relay of Lauren Lavigna, Stephanie Rovig, Dominique Bouchard and Francie Szostak set the third meet record for the Tigers in 7:14.36. Bouchard also set a new personal best in the 100-yard backstroke in 53.36.
When asked about whether or not getting the fathers involved was his idea, Missouri coach Greg Rhodenbaugh didn't take direct credit but praised the parents nonetheless.
“It was more of a comment and me giving the parents a hard time," Rhodenbaugh said. "The parents are the best attribute that we have. They bring a lot of spirit to our swims and make it fun.”
Joe Spivak, father of freshman Alexis Spivak, was the letter ‘I.’
“We are so excited about having a new coach and new staff. We just wanted to give back,” Joe Spivak said.
The parents’ presentation surprised both Rhodenbaugh and the Tigers swimmers.
“It was pretty cool. Sometimes we do it for the girls team, so it was pretty cool to see the parents do it for us,” Spenser Lauver said.
Junior David Dorak was one of the few that said he was not surprised that his father participated.
“It's my dad. He is a goofball just like me. I do not expect anything less,” Dorak said.
The Mizzou Invite finishes on Sunday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.