The individual medals and team trophies will not be awarded until Saturday at the Missouri state boys swimming and diving championships.
But the preliminary swims Friday are crucial to all swimmers and teams to set up Saturday’s drama, and things went very well for several Kansas City area squads at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
The top eight swimmers from each race qualify for the championship heat Saturday, with swimmers who finished ninth through 16th competing in the consolation heat.
Rockhurst coach Paul Winkeler, whose team has won the last nine state championships, knows how important Friday is to the success of a team.
“It is huge,” Winkeler said. “I knew coming in that we had to have a phenomenal first day to have a chance. And I think we did.”
Rockhurst qualified six individuals for the finals and six more for the consolation round.
“That is about what I expected,” Winkeler said. “The guys really needed to step up and they did. I was very proud of how them swam.”
Junior Alex Albracht led the way for the Hawklets on Friday. Albracht had the fastest time coming in for the 100-yard breaststroke, and he had the fastest time in the event Friday. He also teamed with senior Pete Stanley, sophomore A.J. Iseman and junior Trevor Weinrich for the fastest time in the 200 medley relay.
Albracht will also swim in the championship heat of the 400 freestyle relay after he, Stanley, Iseman and senior Drew Hagedornwere seventh in the preliminaries. Albracht was also third in the 200-yard IM.
Iseman will swim in the championship heat of the 100 butterfly after finishing fourth Friday, and in the 100 backstroke after posting the sixth fastest time. Freshman Collin Nill finished third in the prelims of the 500 freestyle.
Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs South also set themselves up for a special Saturday.
Lee’s Summit North senior Ethan Bresette had the best day of any swimmer Friday, with the fastest times in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle. He also swam a leg on the 400 freestyle relay team with Michael Hynes, Thomas Reilly and James White that will be seeded first Saturday. Bresette will swim the maximum four events in the championship heat; his relay team finished third in the 200 freestyle relay.
Hynes will also have a full day — he finished fifth in the 200 freestyle prelim and fourth in the 100 freestyle in addition to being part of two relay teams.
Blue Springs South’s Connor Gregston and Jack Pluenneke will also be competing in four championship heats. Gregston had the fastest time in the 100 freestyle and was third in the 50 freestyle. Pluenneke was sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 500 freestyle.
Staley’s Nathaniel Vawter is the other area swimmer who will compete in the championship bracket in four events. He was fifth in the 200 IM, third in the 100 breaststroke and swam legs in the 200 medley relay team that finished second in the prelims and the 400- freestyle relay team that was fourth.
Park Hill’s Marcin Glebocki should be a state contender in a pair of events Saturday. He had the second fastest time Friday in both the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Liberty North’s Cole Roberts also qualified in the championship heat in both of his individual events. Roberts was fourth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 butterfly.
The diving portion of the state meet will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the swimming finals beginning at 3 p.m.