Lee’s Summit West girls swimming coach Colleen Gibler knew repeating as Suburban Gold Conference champions would be a tall order for her young team, so there was no shame in coming up short.
The Titans, who ended Blue Springs South’s four-year reign during last year’s conference meet, wound up third behind Blue Springs and Blue Springs South after the meet wrapped up Feb. 3 at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center.
The victorious Wildcats totaled 417 points followed by the runner-up Jaguars with 366 points.
While West, which finished with 329 points, was disappointed at not finishing closer to Blue Springs, Gibler and the Titans felt they put out maximum effort during the two-day meet.
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“We did our very best,” Gibler said. “We smashed our times; we set some records. We did everything we could do.”
Gibler was particularly thrilled after the first day, when the Titans qualified five individuals in six events for the A finals.
Molly Harmon went on to claim West’s only gold medal, winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 7.12 seconds.
“We had a really good first day,” Gibler said. “We need to become really good second-day swimmers, but I think that comes with experience as well. A lot of the girls came in and were just so thrilled with how they did the first day that the emotion that went into the first day just wasn’t where with them the second day.”
Harmon, who also placed second in the 50 freestyle, came close to a school record in her 100 breaststroke victory. A junior, she is still rounding into her form after being limited to leg work for four weeks early in the season. She suffered a broken arm in the past and Gibler didn’t want to risk another injury.
“I felt really good,” said Harmon, who has state-qualifying times in both races. “I felt strong and confident.”
Gibler added: “For her to come back and be swimming well, she’s thrilled I think right now.”
Harmon also joined Faith Lilley, Savannah Meyer and Peyton Easley on the Titans’ 200 medley relay, which placed second in a school-record 1:51.62.
Lilley also placed second in the 100 backstroke and eighth in the 200 individual medley; Meyer was fourth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 200 individual medley; Easley was seventh in the 100 freestyle; and Isabel Schnelle was sixth in both the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
“Everyone swam amazing,” Harmon said. “We all dropped time. We all went up places. That’s the best anyone can ask. I’m proud of everyone.”
Lee’s Summit North finished fourth with 238 points, just two points ahead of Lee’s Summit.
Hayden Bentley placed eighth 100 freestyle and seventh 100 backstroke to lead the Broncos, which also had Maci Menges place eighth in the 500 freestyle and Amanda Binger seventh in the 100 breaststroke.
Lee’s Summit freshman Mallory Butler won the 200 individual medley in 2:18.6 and placed third in the 100 breaststroke.
Other top Tigers included: Caroline Franciskato, who was second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 200 free; Stephanie Janczewski, who was fifth in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke; Delaney Butler, who was sixth in the 500 free; and Emily Williams, who was sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Lee’s Summit’s 200 medley relay team took third in a school-record 1:55.71.