PHOENIX, Arizona, February 24. ON today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, we meet the four members of the national high school record-setting 200 freestyle relay from The Baylor School.
Kristen Vredeveld, Ashley Yearwood, Bria Deveaux and Kimberlee John-Williams relive the highlights of the race, and how the team's performance at the Tennessee state championships was geared more toward national acclaim.
As we wrap up Black History Month in the United States, it's fitting to note that three of the swimmers on the Baylor relay are of African descent (John-Williams is from Trinidad and Tobago, Yearwood was born in Bermuda and Deveaux hails from the Bahamas). To our knowledge, this is the first time a national record-setting relay has been comprised of at least three swimmers of African descent. If you know of any previous national high school relay records that have been broken with at least three swimmers of African descent, or high school relay records set with a majority of non-American citizens, help us celebrate them by posting in the comments section below.
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Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Friday, February 24th, 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor today we'll talk to the ladies from the Baylor School in Tennessee who just set a new national record in the 200 free. Kristen Vredeveld, Ashley Yearwood, Kimberlee John-Williams, and Bria Deveaux all join us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hey, ladies, welcome to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?
All: Good, how are you?
Peter Busch: Good. Congratulations on this amazing high school record. Well, Kristen, we'll start with you. You were the leadoff and you almost broke an individual record in the 50 free, 22.27 leading off. So kind of take us through in that first leg of the relay, please.
Kristen Vredeveld: Well, I just tried to have a fast start, get the tempo going really quickly early on, turn quick. Usually, I don't have a fast turn, so I'm working on that, and then just bring it home.
Peter Busch: Was anyone even close to you or did you get plenty of clean water for the next swimmer?
Kristen Vredeveld: We had a pretty good lead.
Peter Busch: All right, so who was second?
Bria Deveaux: Me.
Peter Busch: All right, so tell me about your leg.
Bria Deveaux: I tried to have a fast start but that seemed not to go as well as I wanted it to, but when I got in the pool anyway I made up for that, so I swam fast as I could, try to do the same fast turn. And just try to get my hand on the wall.
Peter Busch: So it kind of a slow exchange.
Bria Deveaux: Yeah.
Peter Busch: Had a little chat with Kristen, you know, hey, good swim, all right. Well, when you have a big lead, better safe than sorry, right?
Bria Deveaux: Yeah.
Peter Busch: Okay, who took off next?
Kimberlee John-Williams: It's me.
Peter Busch: All right, so at this point, you're probably up by a few body lengths, right?
Kimberlee John-Williams: Yes, we were.
Peter Busch: So you could have done breaststroke.
Kimberlee John-Williams: No. (Laughs) Well, I'm not the most capable breaststroker.
Peter Busch: How did your leg go?
Kimberlee John-Williams: I just tried to get in, get a clean break out, good turn, kind of get my tempo going. I am not exactly known to be a sprinter, so I tried to get into the wall as fast as I could so Ashley could have a fast, yet safe start.
Peter Busch: And then anchorwoman?
Ashley Yearwood: Hi.
Peter Busch: So, at this point — let me ask you — at this point, do you have any idea how close you are to this national high school record, which I can only imagine was the goal going in for you ladies?
Ashley Yearwood: Yeah, we had no idea.
Peter Busch: Okay, but get a sense that things are going well. So tell us about you finishing it up.
Ashley Yearwood: Well, I was worried about my start coz I've been pretty bad at taking off from Kimbo so — but, I mean, I got a safe start and I just tried to, you know, hold the teams off and finish the relay strong.
Peter Busch: So you broke your own national high school record by about a second. How many of you were on the team last year that broke it?
Kristen Vredeveld: We were both on it.
Bria Deveaux: Yeah.
Peter Busch: Just you, Kristen?
Ashley Yearwood: And me.
Peter Busch: Oh, okay, the two of you. So two of you now, the other ladies, have your names in the record books, must feel pretty good.
Bria Deveaux and Kimberlee John-Williams: Yeah.
Peter Busch: And, Kristen, you're actually the youngest, right? You're a sophomore and the other three of you are juniors?
Kristen Vredeveld: Kimberlee and I are both juniors and Ashley is a senior.
Peter Busch: Okay, I apologize for that. Okay, so the big question for you ladies is, I mean, you're so good and dominant at the state level, that it seems like you get the luxury of focusing on Swimming World's national title. Was that talked about going into this meet?
Bria Deveaux: A little, but it wasn't emphasized but it was nice if we could do it.
Kristen Vredeveld: We were hoping to. And since we have in the past, the team was kind hoping that we could repeat and we just went trying to do the best for the team. Coach Flack only really talks about getting better, rather than telling us about times we need to go and so that was the difference.
Peter Busch: So we noticed that some of you only swam one individual event, it looks like, so that you could swim all three relays?
Ashley Yearwood: That was Kristen and I.
Peter Busch: Was there a particular reason for that, I mean, the way it worked out for points one way or the other?
Ashley Yearwood: Yes, for points, yeah.
Peter Busch: The points, thinking for the state meet or, again, thinking that it might help you in the national virtual race?
Kristen Vredeveld: The national level, I think.
Peter Busch: Aha, so I knew it. You were thinking about Swimming World. You tied last year with Carmel, but you wanted to win on your own this year.
Kristen Vredeveld: Yeah, hope so.
Peter Busch: All right, a couple of you are seniors, the others are juniors. Where are you guys thinking about going to college?
Bria Deveaux: I'm going to the University of Nebraska in the fall. Female Speaker: And I'm either going to Denison in Ohio or Radford in Virginia.
Peter Busch: And the juniors, where are you thinking?
Kristen Vredeveld: No idea.
Kimberlee John-Williams: There are a lot of possibilities at this point.
Peter Busch: Well, Kristen, I've got to imagine you've got plenty of mail stocked in your mailbox at home from schools.
Kristen Vredeveld: Yeah, but I'm trying to keep options open and just kinda feel the water, see what's out there.
Peter Busch: Feel the water, no pun intended, right? Ladies, so when you have such success and you come back to school, did they throw a little parade for you? What did they give you?
Ashley Yearwood: We get recognized in our classes.
Bria Deveaux: And assemblies and stuff like that.
Peter Busch: Maybe get to turn in homework a little late.
Peter Busch: No? Not so much?
Peter Busch: Well, who's — what's the next big meet for you ladies?
Bria Deveaux: Well, we have a meet this weekend, Southeasterns, in Knoxville. And we'll all be swimming in that and then Kristen is going to juniors.
Kristen Vredeveld: It's the NCSA junior nationals in Orlando, Florida in March.
Bria Deveaux: And later on in April, Kimberlee, Ashley and I are going to [inaudible], a Caribbean place in the Bahamas.
Peter Busch: Nice. Well, ladies, congratulations again on breaking the record and a great meet.
All: Thank you.
Peter Busch: All right, those are the ladies from the Baylor School that just broke the national high school record in the 200 freestyle relay. That's it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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