There are many things the Hannibal boys’ swimming team has trouble doing, but there is one thing they have down to a tee — doing exactly what their coach wants them to do.

There are many things the Hannibal boys’ swimming team has trouble doing, but there is one thing they have down to a tee — doing exactly what their coach wants them to do.
With only three Pirate swimmers available on Monday afternoon to take on the Missouri Military Academy Colonels at the Hannibal YMCA, a team win was mathematically impossible. But that isn’t what Hannibal head coach Brenda Hallbauer wanted out of her swimmers.
“They really stepped up and did well,” Hallbauer said. “They, as well as I, know that the chances of winning a meet are slim and none. We just can’t with our numbers. So, when they come out, they give me their best efforts for the individual swims. That’s all I can expect of them and it is not fair otherwise.”
And that is exactly what the Pirates did on Monday.
It started almost immediately for Hannibal. After Michael Foster took third place in the 200-yard freestyle, it was Anthony Harr’s turn to hit the water, where he shaved almost a full second off of his time to take first place out of four competitors with a time of 27.35 seconds. While a second might seem like a small difference to the untrained eye, Hallbauer explained that for an event such as the 50-yard freestyle, that is actually a great advance.
“That’s hugely significant, because you are just going down and back,” Hallbauer said. “It’s not like you have a big swim to drop a lot of time over the course of it.”
Harr also held down the last event of the day for the Pirates in the 100-yard breaststroke, where he took nine seconds off of his time to take second place.
Harr was not the only person going for a personal best for the Pirates. In his first of two events of the day, Evan Harder took close to a second off of his time in the 100-yard butterfly to take first place at 1:06.75. Harder finished the day going 2-for-2, and took first place in the 100-yard backstroke as well.
Harder said when it came to his personal performance, he was relatively pleased with they day’s times.
“I thought I did pretty decent,” Harder said. “On the 100 back, I didn’t really try that much. But as a team, I am pretty happy with how everyone else did.”
When Foster got back into the pool for the second time for the 100-yard freestyle, the shorter distance seemed to be more favorable to the senior swimmer. He moved up one slot from his 200-yard finish to take second place with a time of 1:06.75.
Foster said he thought the day got better for him as he went on, but couldn’t put his finger on why.
“[The 200-yard freestyle] wasn’t my best,” Foster said. “I felt like I could do a lot more. I don’t know what was going on, but I thought I could do a lot better than I usually do.”
With only one meet left in the season for the Pirates, a home contest against Wentzville Holt, Hallbauer said that her team will not have any State qualifiers this year. With that in mind, the focus has been intensified on personal improvement and enjoyment, which Harr said he plans to do until the very last moment he can.
“We swam our hardest, and that’s all we can do,” Harr said. “… Next year, my main goal is to try and get to State. But this year, knowing that it would take a miracle for that to happen, I’m just going to try and get my lowest time so I can reflect that and get even lower next year.”