Missouri Girls Swimming & Diving Championship this weekend at the St. Peters Rec-Plex
1. How far can Blue Springs South climb?
A year ago, Blue Springs South finished a lackluster 32nd at the state swim meet. This year the Jaguars think they can compete for a spot among the top-five teams in the state. The Jaguars won the Suburban Gold Conference meet for the first time since 2000. They have the top-ranked 200-yard medley team, and they have top-seven qualifiers in Morgan Connors (200 freestyle), Emily Zweerink (50 freestyle) and Kayla Canon (100 backstroke). “We’ve already accomplished more than we thought we would,” Connors said. “I can’t wait to see what we do at state.”
2. Young, and talented
State often provides a perfect showcase for young talent, and a pair of metro area swimmers can take advantage of the setting. Lee’s Summit North freshman Haley Hynes has been dominant this season in the 100 backstroke, recording the best time in the state at 54.98 seconds. She is also the No. 1 seed in the 200 individual medley, where she has a time of 2 minutes, 5.81 seconds, nearly 3 seconds better than any other swimmer in Missouri. Another underclassman to keep an eye on is Liberty sophomore Dreya Curnow, seeded third in the 50 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle. “Dreya has a great swimmer’s body and a good feel for the water,” Liberty coach Christopher Murphy said. “But her No. 1 asset is she is a great competitor and she hates to get beat.”
3. A chance for redemption
For the first time in 13 seasons, the Blue Springs Wildcats walked away from the Suburban Gold Conference meet with a second-place medal rather than the first-place trophy. Two weeks later, the Wildcats are itching to jump back in the pool. Despite the setback, Blue Springs has some of the area’s best talent. Ashley Sturman is No. 6 in the 200 freestyle and No. 11 in the 500 freestyle, Corinne Rinne is third in the 100 breaststroke and the Wildcats qualified second in the 200 freestyle relay. Blue Springs was the only team to finish in the top 10 last year, placing sixth. Rinne took fourth in the 100 breaststroke a year ago.
4. Can Kansas City schools get back in the race?
The 2012 state meet was a disappointment for Kansas City schools. Only Blue Springs managed a top-10 finish, with Notre Dame de Sion taking 11th and Park Hill South placing 18th. Unfortunately, that’s a trend. Since Blue Springs won the state title in 2009, no Kansas City school has finished in the top four. Perhaps some young talent can change that. Park Hill South has a loaded freshman class, led by Tori Beeler. Only one of the Panthers’ 13 qualifying spots this weekend will be occupied by a senior. Sion qualified nine swimmers and three relays.
5. Individuals to watch
Keep a close eye on Park Hill senior Lauren Shaw, who qualified first in the 100 freestyle and second in the 100 backstroke behind Hynes. Lee’s Summit North senior Felicia Bender is seeded seventh in the 100 butterfly. Sion junior Kristine Sullivan surged up the rankings this season in the 200 individual medley. But the day’s most intriguing race — at least for Kansas City swimmers — is the 100 breaststroke, where Rinne is ranked third, Oak Park senior Morgan Foxworthy is fifth, and Park Hill South swimmers Anna Riekhof, Mariah Ramirez and Olivia McLain are seeded sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
| Sam McDowell, email@example.com