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Morrison girls' swim team

The Morrison girls' swim team is pictured after winning the Panther Sprint Invite at United Township on Saturday, Oct. 5.

EAST MOLINE — Morrison girls’ swim coach Chelsea Brewer says this year’s team might be her best in seven years as coach.

The Fillies, despite missing two swimmers on Saturday, won the Panther Girls Sprint Classic at United Township with 390 points as a team. Rock Island (351) took second, followed by Sterling (305), UT (140) and Macomb (65) at the unique, shorter meet without a diving portion.

The Fillies were first in eight of 11 events en route to earning the invite hardware. Morrison won the Clinton invite to start the year and was second at the Freeport Invite last weekend.

The team’s depth and success this year is also tied together with multiple family connections.

Morrison features triplets and two more pairs of sisters, and Brewer’s daughter, BayLeigh, is a freshman on the team. Aside from some occasional sibling tension after a car ride to the meet, the sisterly squad is accustomed to staying focused as a team.

“Overall, they do a really good job of viewing each other as teammates and not sisters while they are in the pool,” Brewer said. “But all of these girls have grown up swimming with their siblings, so they are kind of used to it by now.”

The Norman triplets, Sadie, Sydney, and Sara paired with Brewer to win the 100-yard medley relay to open the meet. Sadie won the 50 butterfly and 50 backstroke, and Sydney added a win in the 100 IM; she was runner-up to Rock Island's Olivia Sholl in the 50 breaststroke. Sara was runner-up to UT’s Jillian Smith in the 100 freestyle.

Sholl’s 32.15 in the 50 breast for the Rocks set a meet record, breaking the previous mark from 2013.

Gracen Harmon, whose sister, Landri, is a freshman for Morrison, won the 150 free and 250 free. Morrison also won the 100 free relay and ended the meet with a win in the 200 free relay.

Morrison’s other sister duo of Emily and Kate Henson was out of town for the meet.

Brewer said she often has to think twice about how hard she coaches her own daughter, and the other sibling rivalries on the team create some natural competition.

“Definitely, there is a lot of rivalry,” Brewer said. “But they each have their own strengths and weaknesses; if one sister is not great at this, the other sister fills in. The Harmon girls raced the 250 free in the same heat right next to each other, so that was fun. It helps push them, I think.”

Brewer has coached the Morrison Seahorse Swim Club in the past, so she has coached up nearly the entire team from an early age.

The Normans and Gracen Harmon are all seniors, an aspect Brewer says also makes this team stand out.

“We have really seasoned veterans. They provide strength and leadership, ” Brewer said, in addition to some standout newcomers. “We just have depth where we’ve never had it before. We have numbers … Last weekend I was able to fill every event spot, and that was the first time for me as a coach. So that can help make us more successful.”

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