DAVENPORT — Looking back to her third-grade self, Clinton senior Molly Shannon didn’t know what to expect from her senior year.
She never would have guessed all of the things 2020 brought, though.
“Never did I think 2020 would be like this,” Shannon said. “I started swimming in the third grade and looking to now, I never would have thought we’d be saying, ‘Oh, put your mask on.’ But I couldn’t be happier that we even got to swim, and much less maybe even swim in college, so I couldn’t be happier right now.”
The Clinton girls swim team placed seventh (106 team points) at an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union regional on Saturday at Davenport Central High School.
Bettendorf placed first (514), Pleasant Valley second (396), Muscatine third (380), Davenport Central fourth (341), Burlington fifth (129), Davenport West sixth (108) and Davenport North eighth (49).
“After going through a tough season like this with all the different obstacles that we’ve had, they swam really well today,” Clinton coach Albert Hayton said. “Several time drops, season bests and that’s what you’re going for this last meet of the year. They were all upbeat and positive, cheering for each other — just an all-around great day.”
It was the Clinton seniors’ final meet.
“I don’t plan on continuing to swim, so this is literally my last swim meet ever,” Clinton senior Rhianna Clark said. “I’m really happy I made it to varsity regionals instead of JV. That was really exciting for me.”
Clark, who made the leap to varsity this season, said everything had to be earned on the Clinton swim team.
“You always have to put the hard work in,” Clark said. “You may not be the most motivated, but you still have to put everything you have into it to get your time dropped, especially since I was so in-between last year — I was doing varsity workouts and still swimming JV, so you’ve got to keep putting the hard work in, dedication — everything.”
It’s those kinds of lessons Shannon hopes the underclassmen take with them going into next year, as well as the rest of life.
“I’m proud of these girls for the mentality that we’ve had throughout this season,” Shannon said. “We may not be the biggest or the strongest team, but we definitely have the most fun. Looking back, I hope some of these girls can learn something from us seniors — how to lead, how to take that leadership role and use it in life, rather than just in the pool.
“I hope they learned to be more involved and are better people in the end, and I think that’s what we’ve done.”
Hayton praised Shannon’s ability as a team captain this season.
“Molly Shannon was our captain for the whole year and she was in charge of everybody, and did a great job,” Hayton said. “If she wasn’t there, the other seniors stepped in and led the team in stretches, workouts, getting everything together. We’ve managed to make it through the whole season without any issues or problems with everything that’s going on.”
Clark said the team dinners were some of the most fun she had with the team. She definitely plans on coming back to see the River Queens compete.
“The team dinners were quite fun,” Clark said. “A couple late nights and just getting to know all of team. It’s going to be really sad to not swim with them anymore, but it’ll be really exciting to come back and see some of their meets, too.”