SIKESTON - The Sikeston Sharks swimming team qualified four swimmers to compete in the Junior Olympics, held July 28 to Aug. 1 at the Michael Jones Natorium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Detroit.
Sikeston's qualifiers are Jessica Pierce, Mark Fraser, Morgan Fraser and Jake Pewitt.
"It's like the Olympics, just on a smaller scale," said Sikeston head coach Heather Dockins. "It's a big deal for all of them. I'm extremely proud of them. I just know that they're going to do very well because they practice very hard."
At the Junior Olympics, there will be swimmers from all 50 states and Washington D.C., in addition to swimmers from such places as Saudi Arabia and Australia.
There, the youngsters will have the opportunity to meet gold medal winning Olympic athletes.
Although the four Sikeston swimmers qualified, Pierce, who qualified in the 100 meter back and breast stroke in the 15-year-old age group, won't be making the trip.
"I definitely expected these four to qualify at the beginning of the year," said Dockins. "They're all returning qualifiers. I expect the three that go to do very well."
Morgan Fraser, competing in the 9-10 year-old division, qualified in the 200 meter freestyle, 100 meter breaststroke, 50 meter butterfly, 50 meter freestyle, 200 meter individual medley, 50 meter backstroke, 50 meter breaststroke and the 100 meter freestyle.
"She has the opportunity to place in the top three in 50 and 100 breast," said Dockins. "I expect Morgan to finish in the top in many events she does. She is an outstanding swimmer."
Fraser also qualified in the 100 meter breaststroke and 50 meter breaststroke for the USA Swimming Central Zone Championships held in Indianapolis, Ind. scheduled for Aug. 7-10.
Morgan's brother Mark Fraser qualified in the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breaststroke in the 13-14 age division.
"The 50 freestyle may be his best event at the Junior Olympics," said Dockins. "He should also place very well in the breaststroke."
In the 11-12 age division, Pewitt qualified in the 50 meter breaststroke, 50 meter butterfly, 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breaststroke.
"The 50 breast is possibly his best stroke," said Dockins. "The butterfly is his most improved stroke. It's very impressive that he qualified in it. He should do very well in the 50 free. The 100 breast is a new event for him, but I expect him to do great."