Swimming is in Emily Traube's DNA, and she's making the most of it.
Her parents swam competitively in college and her older sister is a talented swimmer as well. The freshman at Nerinx Hall in Webster Groves took a meet record in her first high school invitational meet. She had two first-place finishes and was a big factor in the relay qualifier for the state tournament, the earliest a relay team from the school had qualified in several years. Heading into Christmas break, she already had a state qualifying time in every individual event she swam in, ranking in the top 10 in the state in each.
Jenoa Olson, head swimming coach at Nerinx, points out that Traube "has a great work ethic. She trains really hard. And she has fun with the sport."
Traube, who is from Columbia, Ill., said it's a little different swimming in high school competition and practices. She was familiar with it because her sister, Meredith, is a senior on the team and she already knew a few swimmers at Nerinx. She swims on the club level for the Flyers Aquatic Swim Team (FAST), where she started swimming at age 8.
"I like that it's a competitive sport and you can make such close friends doing it," Traube said. "Swimming relaxes me at practice, and it makes me feel better than when I got in" the pool.
Swimming for Nerinx is special because she's on a team with girls she sees at school, Traube said. It keeps her busy, since she goes to FAST practices as well as her high school team's practices. Sprint freestyle, 100 fly and 100 breaststroke are her favorite events.
Olson, in her fourth year as coach at Nerinx and 12th on the high school level, said Traube is just one of the talented freshmen on a team with several top-notch swimmers.
Expectations are high for the girls at Nerinx in academics and in their participation in the community, Olson said. "We try to have the same high expectations for them in the water. They work really hard. We're always having to add yardage (they swam 6,000 yards at a recent weekday practice) and push them a little harder. They're a fun group of girls and have the bigger picture of what's important."
Nerinx culture extends to the swim team — they're taught that their faith needs to be shown in every aspect of life, whether it's academically, socially or athletically, for example. "Those key Loretto values are evident in how you treat people, your sportsmanship, your work ethic," Olson said.
Swimming is an exciting sport that sometimes is ignored other than during the Summer Olympics. St. Louis has a "great swimming community, with five or six very big, very competitive USA swimming teams," Olson said. "I'm just a fan of the sport. Hopefully we'll get to see Emily in the Olympic trials in 2020. I know that's one of her goals. It'll be fun."
Traube caught notice at the Ladue Invitational in early December. She won the 500-yard freestyle and 50 freestyle events and was the anchor on the Nerinx' winning 200 free relay team. She also helped the 400 free relay team to a second-place finish. At the same event, St. Francis Borgia senior Emily Reuwer won her signature event, the 100 backstroke, and also came in first in the 100 butterfly.
Other swimmers from Catholic schools in the archdiocese making waves include Cor Jesu junior Karisa Franz, the defending state champion in the 100-yard butterfly, and her teammate, junior Maddie Mather.