The Kansas state swimming and diving titles for both Class 6A and 5-1A will be determined Friday and Saturday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. The 6A preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. with 5-1A set to start at 4 p.m. Finals for both classes will be Saturday.
1 SM East, BVNW set for showdown
It probably shapes up as a two-team race for the Class 6A title between Sunflower League champion Shawnee Mission East and East Kansas League champion BV Northwest. The Lancers won the title last season and once again will rely on superior depth in the quest for a fourth straight 6A crown. SM East is led by freshman Bonnie Longan, the favorite in the 100 backstroke (59.71). With the top seed time, the Lancers also are the favorites in the 200-yard medley relay (1:51.85), but only by a slim margin over the Huskies (1:51.99). BV Northwest will rely on junior Hannah Musser, the favorite in the 200 individual medley (2:06.54) and 100 butterfly (56.17), along with sophomore Courtney Laird, the favorite in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.08), in its quest to win state for the first time since 2008.
2 T-Wolves poised for 5-1A title
BV Southwest has the look of a state champion with depth and elite talent in the Class 5-1A ranks. The Timberwolves, who finished second behind BV Northwest at the EKL Girls Swimming and Diving Championships, may not be seriously challenged either. BV Southwest is the favorite in all three relays — the 200 medley (1:50.18), 200 free (1:42.64) and 400 free (3:39.41). Sophomore Sydney Angell also is the favorite in the 200 individual medley (2:12.98) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.60). The T-Wolves also should get big points from seniors Anna Rasmussen, the reigning 5-1A champion in the 100 backstroke, and Hannah Angell, who are among the top seeds in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
3 Caldwell’s quest for quadruple gold
Lawrence Free State sophomore Courtney Caldwell breezed through her first state swim meet with win in the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Once again, Caldwell will be the favorite in both races. She boasts the top seed time in the 50 free (23.89) and the 100 free (51.24), but her ambition has grown. Caldwell also swims for two relays that head to Topeka with the top seed times, giving her a real shot at snagging four gold medals before the weekend wraps up. Anchored by Caldwell, the Firebirds are the favorites in the 200 free relay (1:39.01) as well as the 400 free relay (3:35.37).
4 Tight races for diving titles
The race for the Class 6A diving title is extremely tight with Olathe Northwest sophomore Allison Thomas, the reigning state champion, clinging to a 0.3-point lead ahead of BV West junior Emma Roush, the reigning state runner-up. Thomas leads Roush 312.20-311.90 coming out of the semifinals. The duo are more than 40 points clear of BV North junior Tessa Mathews, who was third entering Friday’s finals. It’s not quite as close in 5-1A. St. James Academy senior Courtney Gammil trails Emporia senior Gabby McNeilly by fewer than eight points after the semifinals. The two have separated themselves from the pack by a wide margin, but Gammil (264.55) has a little work to do to catch McNeilly (272.25).
5 More state favorites
There are several other local swimmers who head to state as favorites based on seed times. St. Thomas Aquinas senior Sara Lopez appears poised to claim double-gold in the distance races. She is the favorite in the Class 5-1A 200 freestyle (1:54.14) and 500 freestyle (5:03.07), while SM South senior Paige Meredith enters state with the top time in the 5-1A 100 butterfly (58.09). Meredith is the reigning Class 6A champion in the event. Finally, BV North freshman Bentley Hulshof appears to be the swimmer to beat in the 6A 200 freestyle (1:54.03).
| Tod Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org