Although the teams receive separate scores, Rock Bridge and Hickman girls’ swimming and diving teams operate as one.
The teams compete and practice together, and John Hamilton coaches both.
Rock Bridge and Hickman got their first chance to compete this season at the Purple, Green and Gold meet on Saturday at Hickman. The meet, which is named after the schools’ colors, included only the two teams. Swimmers and divers competed in several individual events that served as time trials.
No scores were kept, but the meet did provide opportunities, Hamilton said.
He said the event allows him to evaluate the teams’ status and is a good way for the swimmers and divers to start the year.
“It lets them see, particularly the newer girls, how a meet is run,” Hamilton said. “Knowing to get to the right lane, the right event. Knowing what to eat before the meet. It’s all the little intangibles that have a big influence on their performance.”
Hickman swimmer Maddi Holman said the event also allows everyone to see where they are individually and start the season off with a relaxed event.
While Hamilton said he wants the teams to have a good record, the main goals do not center on competitive success. Instead, he said the goals focus on improvement.
“I want the swimmers to be excited about the sport, and this is something that they are glad they are doing,” Hamilton said. “Because if we can get that kind of positive feeling, they are going to improve that much more.”
Both teams will bring a large number of freshmen to meets this year. Rock Bridge features 15, and Hickman has eight.
Hamilton said several of his freshmen are some of the best swimmers on the team.
Many of the top swimmers, including freshmen, were not present at the meet. The USA Swimming sectional championships in Topeka, Kan., drew many of them.
Hamilton said he views all the competitors as part of one team instead of separately as Rock Bridge and Hickman.
“The barriers between one school and the other are pretty much broken down,” Hamilton said. “A lot of them train together with club swimming. They know these girls regardless of Hickman or Rock Bridge.”
Holman said she enjoys being part of a unique situation.
“I love being the only team that does (compete together),” she said. “It gets you more involved. There is no competition.”