Jul. 9—Emma Lacey became one of the first Carl Junction swimmers to earn an all-state medal — did it as a freshman.
Fast forward to her senior campaign, Lacey picked up three all-state medals at this year's MSHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships, leading the Bulldogs to their best finish in program history.
As a result, Lacey has been named the high school girls swimmer of the year by the Globe sports department.
The four-time state qualifier took fifth place in the 100-yard breaststroke, posting a time of 1 minute, 7.94 seconds. Lacey was part of two relay teams that posted the highest finish for the Bulldogs, placing second in the 200 medley relay (1:50.18) and third in the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.86).
She teamed up with Chloe Miller, Ally Montez and Skylar Sundy to place ninth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:46.87).
"Emma showed up to all four races at state in amazing form," Carl Junction coach Stephanie Miller said. "She also had the challenge of completing the back-to-back in the 100 breast and 400 free. She did it very well. We were sixth at state without a diving team, and we practice at 5:30 a.m. in a borrowed pool. This team excelled during a pandemic, and they were more amazing than most realize."
Lacey put together a standout performance at the Central Ozark Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Jan. 27. She touched the wall first in the 50 freestyle in 25:95 and second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.6. She was a part of two winning relay teams — 200 and 400 free — that helped the Bulldogs to their second straight COC title.
"When I look back on last year, I will always remember how an individual sport became a team sport," Miller said. "I'm so proud of my team for making it about the team."