By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
The Joplin Stingrays will compete in the new pool at Schifferdecker Park for the first time Saturday and Sunday in the annual Joplin Invitational Swim Meet.
A total of 616 swimmers have registered for the meet. The Stingrays have scheduled 110 of their 146 swimmers to compete this weekend, said head coach Dana Burkett.
Also competing will be teams from Webb City, Carthage, Lamar, Nevada, Monett, Branson, Parsons (Kan.), Claremore (Okla.) and Siloam Springs (Ark.).
“We have enough swimmers that our warmups are going to start at 6:40 a.m.,” Burkett said. “Our timeline is 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and then 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. With the eight lanes, I think we’ll get them through and get them done really well.
“With blocks at both ends, they’ll get their best relay times at our meet,” she said. “I’m super excited about the pool.”
Performances by some of the Stingrays’ younger swimmers have taken on important team roles, Burkett said.
“We have swimmers, 4- and 5-year-olds, 6- and 7-year-olds, who are in the butterfly and the breaststroke,” she said. “Sayer Sundey, a 4-year-old, has beat out all of the 8-and-under guys for a spot on our ‘A’ relay. That’s pretty impressive.”
After this weekend, the Stingrays have one regular-season meet — at Lamar — remaining on their schedule. The ‘B’ championships are scheduled for July 27-28 at Claremore and the ‘A’ championships are set for Aug. 3-4 at John Brown University at Siloam Springs.