Photo by Theo Tate
Triplet sisters Isabella (left), Autumn and Savannah Grinter have been competing with the Water Works swimming team for six years.
Six years ago, the Water Works Marlins had an addition to their team.
Make that three additions.
Triplet sisters Autumn, Isabella and Savannah Grinter — all of them age 7 — joined the Marlins and competed in the 8 and under girls’ division. But they were no strangers to swimming.
“I had them taking lessons when they were like 2 1/2,” said April Grinter, the triplets’ mother. “That’s when I started all of them in the pool with teachers and swim coaches. I knew they could swim. I felt like they needed to learn how to swim for a while before they went on the swim team because (their older sister) Bailey was on the swim team, also. By the time they got to swim on the swim team, they were ready. They had so much fun with it.”
Now, the triplets are among the top swimmers for Water Works. This summer, Autumn won a pair of Southwestern Illinois Swim Association championships, Savannah set a team record in the 50-yard backstroke and Isabella had strong efforts in the intermediate medley and the breaststroke.
“They’re a joy,” Water Works coach Elizabeth McPherson said. “They’re funny and they’re really hyper, energetic and awesome. They’ll cheer each other on all of the time and they’re really good teammates. They each have their own stroke, which is awesome. I can put them in relays together.”
The triplets turned 13 on July 5.
“It’s exciting to watch them grow up,” April said.
Autumn, Isabella and Savannah will compete in the 13-14 girls’ division next summer after competing in the 11-12 division this summer.
“I feel that they act like they’re older and they swim really fast,” said McPherson, who just wrapped up her first season as the Marlins’ head coach. “They have a lot of bright things going on for them. If they can keep training hard and keep working hard and staying positive, they can go really far in their careers as well as life in general.”
McPherson has known the triplets since they first joined the team six years ago.
“They’re all so unique in their own way, which I didn’t expect from triplets,” McPherson said. “They’re really awesome. I like having them in practice. Sometimes they can be a little crazy, but most of the time, they calm down and they work hard.”
Autumn said she enjoyed working with McPherson, who also ended her 10-year swimming career with Water Works this summer.
“It’s fun because I know her,” Autumn said. “Bailey knew her and that’s how I met Elizabeth.”
The triplets’ older sister, Bailey, also swims with the Marlins. Earlier this summer, she swam in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke at the United States Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Neb.
Savannah said she was happy her older sister got a chance to compete in the Olympic Trials.
“It’s really cool,” she said.
The triplets also compete with the Edwardsville YMCA Breakers. At the Independence Celebration meet July 8-10 at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center, they competed in the backstroke and freestyle in the 13-14 girls’ division.
“We’re swimming them in everything,” Breakers coach Bob Rettle said. “At that age, we’re keeping them well-rounded.”
At the SWISA meet on July 17 at Summers-Port Pool in Godfrey, Autumn earned a High Point award after winning the 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard butterfly and placing second in the 100-yard intermediate medley.
Autumn beat Savannah by four-hundredths of a second in the 50-yard freestyle. Autumn finished with a time of 27.60 and Savannah swam a 27.64.
“Savannah was always the fastest one out of everything,” April said. “Now Autumn is starting to creep up on Savannah and she’s actually beating Savannah in the 50 freestyle. That causes a lot of fights in our house.”
Savannah had three second-place finishes at the SWISA meet. She also was runner-up in the 50-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle. In the 50-yard backstroke, Savannah swam a team-record time of 30.35 seconds.
Isabella finished fourth in the 100-yard intermediate medley, eighth in the 50-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 50-yard backstroke.
Isabella said she enjoys competing with the Water Works team every summer.
“It’s fun because you get to swim with your friends,” she said. “It’s not really as competitive as the Breakers.”
The triplets will be eighth-graders at Liberty Middle School this fall. Autumn and Isabella compete with the school’s track and cross country teams.
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