Varsity Girls’ Swim and Dive: Freshman Jenna Ridings Sets Seven School Records


Tehya CoxPotter

Freshman Jenna Ridings breaks the 500 Freestyle with support from her team. “My favorite thing about being on the team is getting to swim, and having such a strong bond with my coach,” Ridings said. “I also love having a super supportive and welcoming team.”

Varsity Girls’ Swim and Dive is home to 21 individuals, including a multi-record-breaking freshman, Jenna Ridings. Just in the first four meets, she broke three school records, two of which were on the same day.

On December 2, Ridings broke two records. The first was a record set by Kimberly Skillington in 1982 of 1:01.29 seconds for a 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.30.

The second record was set in 2018 by Richa Boara with a time of 1:04.14 for the 100-yard backstroke. Ridings smashed it by 1.28 seconds with a time of 1:02.86.

On the December 6 meet against Parkway North High School and Hazelwood West High School, Ridings broke yet another record. In the 200 Individual Medley, which had a previous time of 2:16.64, she broke the record in a fraction of a second with a time of 2:16.01.

On December 16, she broke another record: the 200 Freestyle with a time of 2:00.37.

For her fifth season record, Ridings broke the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5:24.63 on January 19.

She broke another two records on February 1, qualifying in the 200 Free with a time of 1:57.61 and the 100 Fly with a time of 57:98.

The freshman gained overwhelming support from her teammates and peers, and said, “I was very excited, especially after getting three in the first two weeks, and my teammates were even more excited than me and super supportive.”

Sophomore Emma Eiswirth, who has been on a swim team with Ridings since they were seven, said, “when Jenna broke three records at the past swim meets, I was beyond excited and happy for her. I love to see her succeed because I know how hard she works and how much she wants it. I jumped up and down and cheered as loud as I could when she touched the wall and we saw her time.”

But this didn’t come out as a shock to the team. Ridings practices with Parkway Swim Club four times a week, on top of practices with the Pattonville team.

“Jenna works super hard, the hardest worker I know,” Eiswirth said. “Every single day she goes to practice and pushes herself as far as she can go and it truly pays off…I know she is always going to work hard and that pushes me to go faster. She is a great influence on her teammates.”

As proud as the team is of the freshman, she recognizes her own accomplishments.

“I am most proud of my backstroke record because that is one of my worst strokes and I still broke it by the most amount of time,” Ridings said.

Before Ridings 5th record, Emma Eiswirth broke her own school record set 11 months ago for 100 Breast, from 1:10.38 to 1:09.79 at the Fort Zumwalt North Invitational on January 7.

With the season coming to a close, and the varsity team walking away with six new school records, this marks their most “successful” season in a decade.
“I feel really sad that the season is ending because I’m going to miss everyone, especially the seniors,” Ridings said. “I am also really grateful for such an awesome and loving team, and I couldn’t have done any of it without my coach.”

The state swim meet is on February 16 and 17, with Jenna Ridings and Emma Eiswirth, along with Tehya CoxPotter, Christina Bae, Emma Whitley, and Madison Leckrone.