INA, Ill. – With help from the Rend Lake College Foundation, the Rend Lake Aquatic Youth Otters swim team was able to get a new, state-of-the-art electronic scoreboard and touch pads timing system. Coach Laura Johnston said the new technology is now installed at the RLC Aquatics Center and will help put RLAY on the map as a host venue for future meets and invitationals.
“I’m really excited about using the system when we host our second year of the RLAY Kickoff Meet Oct. 8 and 9,” said Johnston. “That’s a YMCA meet. We also hope to schedule some USA Swimming-sanctioned meets in the future.”
The system, purchased through funds from the RLCF and money raised by Otters, provides fully automated timing in races from start to finish. It uses a starting sensor with touch pad sensors at each turn to display marks in real time and results instantly on the large LED scoreboard overhead.
“Several Rend Lake College Foundation board members have been following the success of the RLC Otters swim team,” said RLCF CEO Pat Kern.
Johnston’s presentation at the June 7 RLCF Board meeting explained that there are more than 60 swimmers this year and showcased their success at the national and state levels.
Kern mentioned the October RLAY Kickoff. “Holding meets on campus is a great goal for the team and RLC would benefit greatly from having them on campus,” she said. “Credibility, monetary gains from the events, and instilling a sense of pride in the Otter students are a few reasons why a scoreboard and touch pads are needed. The Otters compete at several impressive aquatic complexes throughout the region and the Foundation wants our team to have every advantage by also training and competing at a first class facility.”
Kern added that the RLCF stepped forward when extra funding was needed to obtain the Aquatics Center years ago and so it was just natural that the Foundation would want to enhance the center now.
Otter performances in the pool have made waves in the youth swimming world. One of the team’s more recent meets was the USA Swimming Ozark Championships, July 1-3, at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.
Olivia Craven, 10, of DuQuoin, placed fourth in the 50 meter butterfly and 50 breaststroke, while Hunter Braden, 10, of McLeansboro, was runner-up in the 50 butterfly and fifth in the 200 freestyle.
In the 11-12 year old divisions: Jacob McKinnley, 12, of Okawville, took third in the 50 backstroke; and Isabel Heitmeyer, 11, of Mt. Vernon, took eighth in the 100 breaststroke A finals. Andrew Roberts, 11, of Mt. Vernon, placed second in the 50 back and 100 back A finals; third in the 50 fly A finals, 200 IM A finals, and 400 free A finals; and fourth in the 100 and 200 free A finals. Roberts took third in the High Point Trophy race for 11-12 Boys.
Cheyenna Rhine, 13, of Benton, was fourth in the 200 breaststroke, and fifth in the 200 and 400 IM; and Rebekah Holt, 15, of Mt. Vernon, came in 12th in the 100 breaststroke. Aaron Holt, 18, of Mt. Vernon, was third in the 100 backstroke.
Braden, Craven, Roberts, Heitmeyer and Rhine later competed in Topeka, Kansas at the USA Central Zones Meet. As part of the Ozark LSC swim team – consisting of swimmers from Missouri and Southern Illinois – they competed against other LSC teams from the Missouri Valley, Oklahoma, Midwestern Arkansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.