COLUMBIA — For Diogo Ferreira, swimming in Columbia is a new experience.
At the COMO Invitational, Ferreira, a senior at Rock Bridge, won the 50 Freestyle with a time of 22.20 seconds. He also won the second heat of the 100 Butterfly with a time of 57.14 seconds.
But Ferreira is not just any senior.
He is an exchange student at Rock Bridge from Aracagu, Brazil, and this was his first swim meet for the Bruins. But if you watched the team from a distance, you’d think that Ferreira had been part of the team for years. The transition to life in America has been easy for Ferreira. Coach Karen Steger said he has quickly become a big hit on the team.
“He’s hysterical,” Steger said with a laugh. “He makes us laugh. I think the guys really like him.”
According to Ferreira, his friends on the swim team don’t let him stay inside much. They always want him to go somewhere and hang out.
Ferreira said being in Columbia and making friends on the swim team has been amazing. When asked what he likes about America, Ferreira had a simple answer: everything.
This was also Ferreira’s first swim meet since returning from a broken wrist suffered from falling off his bike back in July. He said it was a frightening injury, but he felt comfortable enough to resume practice about two weeks ago. After such an absence, however, Ferreira said it was amazing to get back in the pool and compete.
Even though he did not qualify for state, the 50 Freestyle was the focal point for Ferreira Saturday, and he was pleased with his performance.
“It was really good,” Ferreira said. “I was really concentrating on it, and … things just happen.”
As a team, the Rock Bridge boys swimmers finished third at the COMO Invitational on Saturday. The Hickman swim team also competed in the event, along with 16 other high schools.
Senior Thomas Jamieson-Lucy had a strong meet himself, posting a personal best time in the 200 Freestyle of 1:52.43. Jamieson-Lucy qualified for state for the event.
The Bruins’ next meet will be at the De Smet Invitational in St. Louis on Sept. 24.