It’s officially a decade of dominance for the Rockhurst swimming team.
By BILL HESTER
Special to The Star
The Hawklets won their 10th consecutive state boy’s championship Saturday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex. And they did so in dominating fashion. Rockhurst opened the day with a tremendous effort in the diving portion of the meet. They had four divers in the final group and finished one-two as sophomore David Knopke repeated as champion, while junior Zach Cook finished second.
But, as things turned out, Rockhurst would have won the meet with no points from the divers. They finished with 220 points. Blue Springs South finished second with 163 points, while Lee’s Summit North was third with 161 points.
“Ten years is very special,” Rockhurst coach Paul Winkeler said. “There is a big difference between 10 years and nine years. I am just honored to be part of a tradition like this.
“We treat our divers as our fourth relay team, and they have been a strength all season and really set the tone for today after a good day yesterday. We didn’t want to concentrate on points but just focus on our races.”
And the focus was there as the Hawklets led from wire to wire despite not having an individual champion in the swimming portion of the meet.
Junior Alex Albracht came the closest, finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke. He was edged out by .07 seconds by Nixa freshman Jordan Hill.
“Winning that event was something I have been shooting for, and it is disappointing to lose by such a close margin,” said Albracht, a junior. “At least I get another chance next year, and I am even going to be more motivated.”
The sting of the second place finish in the second-to-last event of the meet was not evident though when Albracht joined his teammates for a photo with yet another first place trophy.
“Winning 10 years in a row is something you just can’t dream of,” said Albracht, who also finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley. “There is class after class after class involved. It shows the value of the system here. You just have to step up when it is your turn, but the number 10 is pretty special. We feel we have established a legacy.”
Freshman Collin Nill finish third in the 500-yard freestyle, while sophomore A.J. Iseman was fifth in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
Iseman and Albracht teamed with senior Pete Stanley and junior Trevor Weinrich for a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay.
The Blue Springs South swimmers seemed almost as excited as the champion Hawklets as they received their second place trophy. That matches their best finish at state.
“We finished fifth here last year and that was disappointing since four get trophies,” Blue Springs South coach Errich Oberlander said. “Our goal once we left here last season was to come home with a trophy. We are thrilled with the second place finish. The guys were amazing this weekend. It was a total team effort.”
As was the case with Rockhurst, Blue Springs South was aided by a stellar effort in the diving portion of the meet. Seniors James Poole and Eric Horn finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Blue Springs South, which had a pair of important third place finishes in relay events, was led by Connor Gregston. The senior finished second in the 100-yard freestyle and third in the 50-yard freestyle.
Lee’s Summit North’s Ethan Bresette was the only area individual champion. He won the 200-yard IM and also had a second place finish in the 500-yard freestyle.
“It feels good to win,” said Bresette, who finished second in the 200-yard IM last year. “It is a great pay off for a lot of hard work that I have done in and out of the pool.”
Bresette, who teamed with Michael Hynes, James White and Thomas Reilly, to win the event’s final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, will attend Missouri State University in the fall.
“Ethan deserves everything he achieved this weekend,” Lee’s Summit coach Danielle Russell said. “He is one of the most focused and dedicated kids I have ever been around and he has not come close to his peak yet.”
Russell was thrilled that Bresette was able to hold off Kevin Steinhose of John Burroughs at the end of the 400-yard freestyle relay. Lee’s Summit North won with a school-record 3:09.91. John Burroughs was second in 3:10.14.
“That was insane and amazing,” Russell said. “Our record before the season began with 3:15. I never thought we would hit 3:09. That one is going to stand for a while with the loss of Ethan and James White.”
Staley finished sixth as a team, and Daniel Maynard, Nathaniel Vawter, Alex Gach and Ryan Duffy won the 200-yard medley relay. Vawter also had a third-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Park Hill sophomore Marcin Glebocki also had an outstanding meet. He was second in the 50-yard freestyle and third in the 100-yard freestyle.