COLUMBIA — Brooke Nutter's shouts of "Go" could be heard outside of Hickman High School's indoor pool.
This was before most of the other children were out of the sleeping bags they had brought for the 8:30 a.m. Show-Me State Games swimming competition on Saturday. Wrapped in a yellow towel at the end of the lane lines, Nutter encouraged the swimmers in the first race of the day, the female Masters 200 IM.
The nine-year-old Columbia Swim Club member stayed at the end of the pool until she needed to get ready for her own race, the 100 IM. She knew no one in the beginning races who she cheered on.
"I cheer them on because it gives them support and confidence in themselves," Nutter said.
Nutter needed no prompting from anyone to get her to start cheering. Her mother, Michelle Nutter, thought it was neat for her daughter to start motivating people.
"She decided on her own," Michelle Nutter said. "No one else was cheering them on, so it was nice to see her do that."
When Brooke Nutter started shouting for the swimmers, others followed suit.
"I really like seeing the friends that I have made with swimming," Brooke Nutter said. "It's the thing for me. I think that people see that everyone can cheer even if they aren't on your team."
Janet Criscione was in that first race when Brooke Nutter started cheering. With her first completed event, she awaited her other four near one of the open doors of the center. Her own 20 years of participation in the games has been interesting when she returns to see the improved swimmers, especially those that have not been swimming their whole lives.
"I've made a lot of friends over the years," Criscione said. "For some of them this is the only time I get to see them."
While a medal is in her sights for the end of the meet, Brooke Nutter was awed to see the different ages that came together to swim that morning.
"The best thing about the Show-Me Games is the ages," Michelle Nutter said. "We talk about how we'll be coming when she's older."
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