Prep Sports

Kennedy swimmers grew closer through difficult fall

HS journalism: Derecho kept them from home pool until Oct. 19

Cedar Rapids Xavier junior Anne Baumann. competes in the 100-yard breaststroke for Kennedy during a girls' swimming quad
Cedar Rapids Xavier junior Anne Baumann. competes in the 100-yard breaststroke for Kennedy during a girls’ swimming quadrangular at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, said a tough fall made a close team closer. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — In the wake of the Aug. 10 derecho, many buildings and schools had to quickly adapt to change and work with what they had left.

Some schools lost more than others.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School suffered significant damage to its building. This did not stop its fall athletes, especially the Kennedy girls’ swim team.

Kennedy was unable to use its pool until Oct. 19. The Cougars had to practice at Washington, Linn-Mar and Jefferson high schools and switched their practice times.

Xavier junior Anne Baumann, who swims for Kennedy, said despite all of that, the team had not slowed down and has gotten much closer.

“I think we have very good chemistry this year,” Baumann said. “This unity has helped us push through the difficult season and will definitely push us through to state.”

The team usually practices early in the morning at 6 a.m., but because of cooperation with other schools, the Cougars had to alter their schedule during this time.

“We’ve moved around from Linn-Mar to Jefferson to Washington and had very late and early practice times,” Baumann said. “It was hard to come to practice with a positive attitude when we practiced late from 7 to 9 p.m.”

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The team still stayed motivated. For Xavier junior Jessica Lyon, it was all about getting back home to Kennedy.

“We stayed motivated by hoping we would get to swim in the Kennedy pool just once this season,” Lyon said. “We have a great team dynamic (which helped during this time), even though we have not had much team bonding this year because of the virus. But we have always been very close with each other. We have also had motivation just by being consistent at our meets.”

Being a member of this team has meant a lot for Lyon.

“Being on a team like this is amazing because we are like family, especially since we spend a lot of time together,” Lyon said. “I love the team because I know people do not get to have a team like this one a lot of other times.”

The state meet begins today in Marshalltown.

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