Park Hill South High School swimmer Tori Beeler captured her first Missouri individual state championship when she was a sophomore, and she immediately called it a bit of a surprise. The title came in the 200-yard individual medley, a race in which she simply hoped to place among the top eight.
A lot can change on the heels of success.
As a junior during season just completed, Beeler upped the ante. She set a goal to break school records in the 200 IM and the 100-yard backstroke — two marks that already belonged to her. And after claiming a state title the year before, her plan to best her own times was rather straightforward.
“I think what I learned from last year is that if you tell yourself you’re going to do something, you can do it,” said Beeler, The Star’s All-Metro Missouri girls swimmer of the year.
And she did it again.
Beeler successfully defended her state title in the 200 IM at the Missouri state meet. She also finished first in the 100-yard backstroke.
Her state-meet time in the 200 IM (2 minutes, 3.65 seconds) set a new school record, as did her preliminary race time in the 100 backstroke (56.40 seconds).
Beeler also participated on the 200 medley relay team, which finished second and broke a school record, and the 400 freestyle relay team, which placed third while establishing a new school record.
“I think it really comes down to her experience her freshman year, when she got ninth in both events after being seeded third and fourth. She learned that she can’t coast into state and end up in the same place she came in,” Panthers coach Tim Busenhart said. “She came back determined. She changed how she trained and figured out what she needed to do to work harder. As you can see, it’s paid off.”
THE STAR’S 2014-15 ALL-METRO MISSOURI GIRLS SWIM TEAM
200-YARD MEDLEY RELAY
Park Hill South (Tori Beeler, junior; Anna Riekhof, junior; Helen Yeater, senior; Maggie Hickey, junior). The Panthers were unable to defend their state title, placing second at the state meet. But their time of 1 minute, 47.70 seconds broke a school record.
Paige Riekhof, Park Hill South, freshman. The Suburban Red Conference champion finished fifth at the state meet before later placing seventh in the 100-yard butterfly.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Tori Beeler, Park Hill South, junior. In the last two seasons, Beeler has totaled three individual state championships. She repeated as the 200 individual medley champion this season and also won the 100-yard backstroke.
Rebecca Shaw, Park Hill, junior. The sprinter advanced to the consolation finals in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle at the state meet. Her time of 25.21 seconds in the 50 free was good for 16th place.
Allie Steinhauser, Blue Springs South, senior. Two weeks after winning the Suburban Gold Conference title, Steinhauser placed fifth at the state meet, the top Kansas City-area showing.
Maggie Hickey, Park Hill South, junior. Hickey stood on the podium four times at the state meet. She was a member of all three relay teams and also placed sixth in the 100-yard butterfly.
Nani Welsh, Park Hill, freshman. The Suburban Red Conference and Northland Invitational champion placed 10th at the state meet with a time of 53.60 seconds.
Rachel Janiak, Staley, freshman. The distance swimmer placed ninth at the state meet, recording a time of 5:15.41. She also notched the best Kansas City area finish at the KC Classic (fourth).
200 FREESTYLE RELAY
Park Hill South (Maryn Burns, junior; Maggie Hickey, junior; Paige Riekhof, freshman; Allison Garrett, sophomore). In one of the most tightly-contested races of the state meet, the Panthers set a school record with at time of 1:39.55, good for fifth place.
Kayla Canon, Blue Springs South, senior. The Suburban Gold Conference champion in the 200 IM had her best state-showing in the backstroke, where she placed 14th.
Madison Strathman, Kearney, senior. Strathman became the first female swimmer in Kearney history to win a state championship when she tied for the 100 breaststroke title, finishing in 1:05.03.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY
Park Hill South (Maggie Hickey, junior; Paige Riekhof, freshman; Allison Garrett, sophomore; Tori Beeler, junior). The Panthers capped an impressive showing in the relays with a third-place finish at the state meet, completing the race in 3:34.97.