Nine victories pace Pirates to win over Wentzville Holt

In their first home swimming meet of the season, the Hannibal High School Pirates didn't disappoint.

Hosting Wentzville Holt on Tuesday at the Hannibal YMCA, the Pirates cruised to a 111-58 victory behind a plethora of victories.

After hours of traveling across the state for duals and invitationals this fall, the Pirates seemed relieved to compete in their own pool. Their performance certainly suggested as much.

“It's different. We usually only have two (home meets) a season. It's hard getting on the bus and driving an hour or two away for each meet,” said junior Duncan Lemon. “Swimming at home, you feel more energized, more pumped.”

Duncan was one of several “pumped” Hannibal swimmers, as his victories in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly were two of the Pirates' nine wins.

Duncan claimed his victories in 2 minutes, 21.93 seconds (IM) and 1:04.90 (fly).

Sophomore Nathan Lewton picked up a pair of wins, topping his competition in the 200 freestyle (2:01.24) and the 500 free (5:24.80). Senior Lliot Gieseke was also victorious in a pair of races, as he swam to a time of 22.54 in the 50 free and 51.66 in the 100 free.

Hannibal also swept all three relays, starting with the 200 medley. Seniors Tyler Bush, John Maune and Shay Wade teamed with Gieseke to win with a time of 1:49.29.

Later on in the 200 free relay, senior Daniel Stump and freshman Chris Lewis posted a time of 1:45.21 with the help of Maune and Lewton.

The Pirates rounded out their relay victories with a win in the 400 free. Bush, Wade, Lewton and Gieseke closed out the home dual with a winning time of 3:38.52.

The runaway victory continued Hannibal in the right direction, as the team has built some positive momentum following a win at the Smith-Cotton Invitational on Oct. 10.

“We're all really hard workers, and we're all really motivated, and we work well as a team,” Gieseke said. “All of our younger, underclassmen, they're all stepping up to hold their place on our team, and I'm really glad to see that.”

Lemon said the increase in performance as of late starts with hard work before meets.

“What's working really well is the practices,” he said. “Coach (Brenda Hallbauer) pushes us harder and harder.

“But I have to say, everyone as an individual, everyone is pushing really hard.”

Hallbauer was pleased with the Pirates' first home showing, adding that getting a chance to swim in front of their friends and families was a plus.

Hannibal will have its second and final home meet of the year Saturday when it hosts Marshall at 2:30 p.m.

“It's good to swim at home. You don't have the travel time, and the people that come to watch, it's the kids' families who are here cheering them on. It's nice to just be at home,” she said before adding about the recent success: “It's a lot of hard work. The kids are swimming 2 hours and 15 minutes every day which equates to somewhere between six and 8000 yards a day that they're in the water.

“It's just hard work, and they're doing it, and their times are showing it because their times are coming down. And that's all you can hope for.”