ST PETERS, Mo. — The drought is finally over for Kansas City-area girls at the Missouri state swimming and diving championships.
By BILL HESTER
Special to The Star
They had not won an individual event at the state meet since Eleanor Prewitt-Thomas of state champion Blue Springs won the 500-yard freestyle with a meet record (which was broken Saturday) in 2009.
This year, Kansas City-area swimmers won four of the eight individual events and also had a team finish in a tie for second place.
Lee’s Summit North freshman Haley Hynes led the way with a pair of wins Saturday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex. Parkway North senior Heather Lundstrom was the only other swimmer to win two individual events.
Hynes won the 200-yard IM (2:04.76) and then won the anticipated dual with Park Hill senior Lauren Shaw in the 100-yard backstroke. Hynes won with a time of 55.11 seconds, while Shaw swam a 55.81.
Hynes became the first Lee’s Summit North swimmer, boy or girl, to win a medal at the state meet.
“Haley is just a special young lady,” Lee’s Summit North coach Mike Walker said. “She has the perfect combination of natural ability and work ethic, and she has fun as well.”
“It’s been a great day to win two events,” Hynes said. “It is a huge honor, and it makes me so proud to represent my school like this.”
Shaw, who transferred to Park Hill this year after spending her first three years at Warrensburg, won the 100-yard freestyle in 51.59. John Burroughs freshman Maddie Wessell was second in 52.00.
“Winning a state title is icing on the cake for my high school career,” said Shaw, who will swim at Brigham Young University. “I had placed in the top eight since I was a sophomore and got out-touched at the end by a senior when I was a sophomore. This is something I have always wanted. I can’t believe I got it.”
Blue Springs junior Corinne Rinne capped off a memorable day for Kansas City swimmers winning the last individual event, the 100-yard breaststroke. She won with a time of 1:05.25. Parkway Central senior Ally Neumann was second in 1:06.06.
“It was a tough start to the day when our 200-yard medley relay team was disqualified,” Rinne said. “That gave me extra motivation although it was a long wait being the second to last event. There was anticipation and there was relief. I felt confident and had a good warm-up. This means a lot and is something special.”
It was also a special day for the Notre Dame de Sion team as it captured its first team trophy in school history in dramatic fashion. Springfield Glendale won the team title with 190 points.
But Notre Dame de Sion was in a battle with Parkway South and Parkway West for second place entering the final event, the 400-yard freestyle medley.
Glendale won the relay followed by Parkway West. Notre Dame de Sion’s Meghan Kearney, J. T. Nelson, Hannah Tutera and Kristine Sullivan finished third, just .38 seconds ahead of Parkway South.
When the final point totals were tallied Parkway West and Notre Dame de Sion tied for second with 151.5 points. Parkway South was fourth with 151 points (the top four teams received trophies).
“It shows that every point counts in a meet like this,” said Sullivan, a junior who had a team best third place finish in the 200-yard IM. “I am so proud of the whole team.”
“A lot of people consider swimming an individual sport,” Notre Dame de Sion coach Paul Winkeler said. “But we really focus on the team concept. These girls scraped and clawed for every point today. We have a special senior class, and I was so happy that they could go out on a great note.”
Seven Kansas City area teams finished in the top 16. Park Hill South and Blue Springs were in the top 10, finishing eighth and ninth respectively.
The highlight for Park Hill South was a second-place finish in the meet opening 200-yard medley relay. Park Hill South finished just .14 seconds behind Parkway West, and it did so with two freshmen (Tori Beeler and Anna Riekhof), a sophomore (Helen Yeater) and a junior (Olivia McLain).
Blue Springs South senior Bre Schlenger had the top local finish in the diving portion of the meet. Schlenger was third.