The first big swim test of the fall campaign is annual Marquette Relays.
Parkway West returns to defend its championship in the strong 12-team field.
The event begins at noon Saturday (Sept. 6).
Other teams competing in the relays are Parkway Central, Parkway South, Lafayette, Chaminade, Columbia Hickman, Battle, Rock Bridge, St. Louis University High, Fort Zumwalt West, Cape Girardeau Central and the host Mustangs.
Marquette coach Joe Schoedel said the field is competitive again. Many of the top-finishing teams in the state meet from last year are competing.
“Overall its strong. Parkway Central was fourth at state last year, Parkway West was seventh and SLUH was eighth,” Schoedel said. “Parkway South was 12th, Rock Bridge was 15th and Chaminade was 19th. Parkway West and Marquette won their respective conferences last year. So yeah, I’d say it’s a strong group.”
With all that talent, Schoedel said it is hard to declare a favorite.
“Parkway West is the defending champs, but there is quite a bit of talent at this event and there are quite a few teams that will be competitive,” Schoedel said. “SLUH and Rock Bridge’s entry times also look very strong. You can never overlook Lafayette or Parkway Central either.
“Of course, all the entry times are based on limited opportunities to swim so far this season. Many coaches are using educated guesses as to how fast their boys will go. This will be most team’s first big test to go fast, get some State cuts, and make a statement that they are the team to beat this season.”
Schoedel said he expects his Mustangs to do well.
“Last year, we took fifth at this event, and I’d like to improve our standing,” Schoedel said. “Though it’s still early in the season, I’d like to think we’re stronger than last year and should have a good showing.”
Overall, this event not only features competitive relay swimming but it also is something that all the coaches and swimmers enjoy.
“As a coach, it’s really fun to watch,” Schoedel said. “I know the boys look forward to it every year. Relays are always the most fun parts of meets and what could be better than an entire meet made of relays?”
The meet will provide swim fans an opportunity to see some of the state’s best talent, too.
“It is a great chance to get some fast times and see some of the best talent in the state,” Schoedel said.