Metamora Girls Still Smiling While Swimming Without a Home

Local Sports

ROANOKE, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Metamora girls swim team has a nomadic existence.

Without a home pool, the Redbirds this week will be in their third practice facility in a season that’s barely a month old.

“With COVID-19 we’re trying to keep it as normal as possible,” said Metamora swim coach Shane Morrison. “It’s Metamora swimming, we’ve never had our own pool. So bouncing around pool to pool is normal for now.”

For the last four weeks, Metamora has been swimming at an outdoor pool in Roanoke. The Redbirds started the season practicing at Peoria Richwoods but had to leave when COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow them to share a pool with another school.

Morrison scrambled, made phone calls and found a temporary home in Roanoke. They’ve been rained out of two practices.

The swimmers say dealing with the sun, the wind, sometimes rain at an outdoor pool hasn’t really been that big of a deal. In fact, they say the bus rides to practice and bouncing from pool to poo has made them a stronger team.

“We’d love to have our own pool,” said senior Brook Barlow. “But the bus rides are an amazing team bonding time. So we are super close as a team.”

Anna Peplowski is one of tee top swimmers in the state. The past two years she skipped her high school swim season to train year round with the WAVES, a club team based out of Bloomington-Normal.

She wanted to swim her senior year with her Metamora school mates and assumed the team would be practicing at Richwoods. With the the weather starting to turn cool, Metamora is moving its practices 30 miles east to the Flanagan High School pool this week.

“We have to make the most of it,”Peplowski said. “Transitioning from all the pools is kinda fun because you get a new atmosphere every few weeks.”

And to make light of the situation, the girls are designing t-shirts that list all of the pools the team has called home the past few years.

“We started at Eureka (College), then went to Flanagan, to Central Park Pool (in Peoria), Richwoods, Manual, Roanoke, Metamora Park Pool,” Morrison said.

Any pool with water is starting to look like a home away from home for Metamora.

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