The John Burroughs swim team is returning to form, and no one could be happier than coach Leslie Kehr.
The future is now for the swiming pool Bombers. Freshman phenom Maddie Wessell has already qualified in six different events for the state meet in February. She came to Burroughs in the 7th grade from St. Simons in South St. Louis County and lives in Mehlville. Her younger brother Jack is a good butterfly swimmer too and hopes to enter Burroughs next.
Wessell swims for the Lindbergh FAST aquatics team. She loves to be in the water.
“Until I was eight year old, I was afraid of the water. I was just afraid to put my face into the water,” she said.
“My mom put me on a swim team. I only swam the backstroke, and eventually I got over my fear.”
She has been part of the Lindbergh FAST program for five years. “I started with them when I was 10 years old.”
She got her competitive start with the defunct St. Louis Spirit who competed at the Webster University pool.
“We’re getting all kinds of good swimmers from CSP (Clayton Shaw Park) and some are freshmen and other are in the eighth grade. I hear from their siblings they are really good.”
Kehr is blessed to have Wessell on the team. “I know her dad is a doctor and her mom might be one too and this is such a good academic institution for her. I am just so excited because I’ve never had anyone at this level, and she’s just a freshman.”
“Madison Qualy built up to that level, but one one ever started out as a freshman that good,” said Kehr.
“She’s already broken six individual school records and has qualified for state on all three relays, but of course she won’t swim all three,” said the coach.
In the pool, the Bombers won every event but diving and destroyed Principia, 133-41.
Wessell was first to touch in the 100 back stroke (1:02.65); first in the 50 free (25.36); and finished first on two relays: the 200 medley with freshman Barrett Carlson, Amanda Cao and Amanda Zeigler (2:01.63).
She was first on the 400 freestyle relay (4:23.46) along with Cao, Zeigler; Megan Camenzind and Liz Jackson.
Morgan Rinder won the 200 freestyle (2:20.12) and the 500 freestyle (6:14.93).
Burroughs might just be in the thick of the next state meet. That will be due in part to newcomer Maddie Wessell and all those talented freshmen and sophomores who have been warmly welcomed aboard.