Kansas City area high school swimmers — girls in Missouri and boys in Kansas — are gearing up for league meets on Friday and Saturday. The Suburban Conference, Sunflower League and Eastern Kansas League meets will be held as final tune-ups prior to state meets. Here are five things to watch at the league meets.
1. Panthers dynasty
Park Hill South has won 13 consecutive Suburban Red Conference championships. And here’s the scary thought for this weekend: Most of the swimmers responsible for No. 13 are back this season with an eye toward No. 14.
The Panthers believe they’re a deeper team than they were last season — and they have their sights set on competing for the Missouri state title in two weeks.
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But first things first.
Junior Tori Beeler broke the conference record in the in 200 individual medley last February, completing the race in 2 minutes, 11.95 seconds. She’s already swam the event more than two seconds faster this season. She will also defend her league title in the 100 backstroke.
Panthers’ junior Anna Riekhof is the top seed in the 100 breaststroke, an event she won last season, and sophomore Allison Garrett is the favorite to defend her gold medal in the 100 freestyle.
2. Golden sprinter
Raymore-Peculiar junior Maddi Brusick burst onto the swimming scene last February by capturing the Suburban Gold Conference gold medals in both sprint events — the 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle.
She’s back for more.
Brusick is the top seed in the 50 freestyle in the conference, and she’s seeded fourth in the 100 freestyle.
That gives Raymore-Peculiar two quality chances at gold medals Saturday at the Lee’s Summit Aquatics Center, but as Blue Springs South proved last season, individual titles aren’t a requirement to compete for the team crown. The Jaguars are the two-time defending champions in the Suburban Gold Conference, despite failing to capture a single individual gold medal last season.
3. Battle of state champs in EKL meet
Since the Kansas state swimming and diving championships switched to two classifications in 2010, there have been two occasions where the winners came from the same league.
One of those was last year, when Blue Valley North won the Kansas Class 6A state title and Bishop Miege won in Class 5-1A.
Blue Valley North has five consecutive Eastern Kansas League titles to its name, and are sure to be contenders once again. Their top returner is Brian North, who won the 50 freestyle and swam on the second-place 200 freestyle relay team.
4. Lancers take aim on 12th straight Sunflower title
Shawnee Mission East coach Wiley Wright won four straight all-class state titles from 2005-2008 and then added a pair of Kansas Class 6A state titles in 2010 and 2012.
But his success at the league meet level has been even more undeniable.
The Lancers have dominated the Sunflower League, winning each of the last 11 league meets. They look to be the favorites again this year.
SM East has placed in the top two of each of its eight meets this season and already finished first at the Shawnee Mission District Meet.
5. Fecteau chasing a three-peat
When it comes to diving in Kansas, Blue Valley West senior Daniel Fecteau is the diver to beat.
Fecteau, who signed with Louisville in the fall, is the Kansas Class 6A two-time defending state champion. Fecteau went undefeated last season and broke both the six-dive and 11-dive school records. He won the state title with 514.40 points.
He also won last year’s Eastern Kansas League title with an 11-dive score of 513.3 points.
| Sam McDowell and Kathleen Gier of The Star’s sports staff contributed to this report.