Little Rock (LR) swimming and diving held their annual “Sprint Queen & Prom Queen” event on Sept 20 and 21 to prepare for the upcoming season.
Sprint Queen & Prom Queen is an event LR’s swimming and diving team host every year in replace of two weekend practices where the girls compete in a series of events in scrimmage-style in order to be crown Sprint Queen, Prom Queen or Queen of Queen. To add a little bit of fun to the early morning practice, every year the girls come dressed up in prom dresses they buy from second-hand stores.
“I think we started the tradition about 9 years ago,” Amy Burgess, LR’s head swimming and diving coach, said. “We were looking for a fun way to race and challenge the team before our competition season started. It gives us a look at where the team is at and challenges them physically and mentally.”
The girls are divided into two teams, one being the Maroon team and the other being the Silver team. On Friday the girls compete for the title of Sprint Queen where they compete in a short distance race of the 50 yards of each of the four strokes (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle) as well as the 100 yard Individual Medley (IM), which is a non-stop race of 25 yards of each stroke.
“We have the swim it short course yards, our traditional pool length,” Burgess said. “Then we have them repeat it Long Course Meters, adding a fun element of climbing over the bulkhead mid pool and through lane ropes placed in the opposite direction at the far end of the pool.”
After each event, the times are recorded and the girl with that fastest time in total is crowned Sprint Queen with actual crowns that are passed down every year that each winner writes their name on. This year, freshman Anna Grom was crown Sprint Queen.
“This is my first year at UALR and I can already say that I saw so many special qualities in each girl,” Grom said. “Everyone did so good and put all their effort in every race! We all have our strengths and my favorite is definitely sprinting and explosiveness.”
On Saturday, the girls race to be crown Prom Queen, which is the distance equivalent to the Sprint Queen. Instead of 50 yards of each stroke and a 100 yard IM, the girls race non-stop in the high school swimming event order (200 Free, 200IM, 50 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Free, 500 Free, 100 Back, 100 Breast), totaling to almost a mile worth of constant swimming.
“It is a marathon of swimming and challenges the team mentally more than anything,” Burgess said.
This year, sophomore Lea Zengerling won Prom Queen for the second year in a row and also set a new record in the Prom Queen event.
Last year, the team added the Queen of Queen crown, which crowns the individual that placed the highest overall between both the Sprint Queen and the Prom Queen races. This year, sophomore Carolyn Godwin and freshman Asmalia Redzuan tied and were both crown Queen of Queen.
“It was a great bonding experience,” Redzuan said. “I got to know my teammates better and we cheered for each other. This created a friendly competition for me.”
This year LR’s swimming and diving added 12 new freshmen to their roster so this event was a completely new experience for nearly half the girls competing.
“This year, with our large group of incoming class, it was a great opportunity to see how they would preform under a little pressure,” Burgess said. “It was a fun couple of days and we plan to continue the traditional in future years.”
The team begins their new season with their first meet on Sept 27 in Denton, Texas against North Texas.