Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle boys swimming raced in the COMO Invitational on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

With hundreds of swimmers lining the pool deck, a loud and energetic atmosphere paved the way for personal-best times and an overall strong showing from the COMO swim group.

The Kewpies were led by a strong performance from senior Sam Ragsdell, who finished fifth in the 50 freestyle in 21.77 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 48.08.

“Sam’s ultimate goal is to be on the Hickman record board,” COMO coach Taylor Birsa said. “He’s also trying to go under 21 in the 50 free and he’s well on his way. He continues to have performances that are consistent, whether it’s dual meets, prelims, finals. He just continues to chip away time.”

Hickman also had strong performances from its 200 medley relay, which finished 13th overall (1:44.58), and its 400 freestyle relay, which also finished 13th (3:26.01).

The Bruins also had a stong performance, with senior Jackson Veltrop finishing fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:43.52) and third in the 500 freestyle (4:39.31).

“He broke 4:40.00,” Birsa said. “He’s right where we need him to be. He is also aiming to be on that record board.”

“When I looked up at the scoreboard, I was very, very surprised,” Veltrop said. “It didn’t feel like I was going to hit that time. I looked up and saw a ‘9’ and thought, ‘Oh great, 4:49.00’, but I looked again and saw I broke 40. I had to take my goggles off just to make sure I was seeing that right. After you’re able to break five minutes, every 10 seconds after is a huge milestone.”

Veltrop is relatively new to the 200 freestyle, so he had to make adjustments to have success in the event.

“I’ve been working on it since the end of the high school season last year,” Veltrop said. “We’ve been tinkering with the 200 free a lot. I thought it was a viable stroke to swim long term and I’ve been working on how to adapt to it. Things like stroke mechanics and making my stroke more efficient have helped a lot.”

Rock Bridge had other strong performances throughout the night as well. Senior Nick Clervi finished 10th overall in the 200 IM (2:02.09) and sixth overall in the 100 backstroke (54.18). Freshman Hayden Barnes finished 13th overall in the 100 freestyle (49.32) and ninth overall in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.83). Sophomore Braden McCormick finished 14th overall in the 500 freestyle (5:06.78).

The Bruins also had three relays qualify for finals, with the 200 medley relay placing sixth (1:42.01), the 200 freestyle relay finishing 14th overall (1:34.44) and the 400 freestyle relay finishing 10th overall (3:23.07).

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