In 12 days, the Park Hill South girls swim team will hop on a bus and travel 200 miles east to St. Peters, Mo., the site of the Missouri state swim meet.
The Panthers expect to replicate, if not surpass, last season’s school-record third-place finish — a goal that was established only one day after the 2014 season ended.
On Saturday, Park Hill South had one final opportunity to measure its progress.
The verdict? The Panthers could be awfully dangerous at the state level in two weeks.
Park Hill South won its 14th straight conference title Saturday, totaling 616 points at the Lee’s Summit R-7 Aquatic Center. Park Hill was second in the Suburban Red Conference with 495 points.
“It’s no secret that our expectations are to hopefully win state,” said junior Tori Beeler, who won the 200-yard individual medley. “We’ve been talking about it since last year. This was a good guide for us before we start practicing for state the next two weeks.”
Park Hill South entered the two-day conference meet after enduring what the swimmers refer to as “hell week,” a four-day period of grueling training.
Nevertheless, the Panthers remained fresh for Saturday. They won eight of the 11 swimming events, including all three relay races. Freshman Paige Riekhof was the only two-event winner, capturing gold in the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
“After having hell week, we came into it knowing we might not have our best times, but we still wanted to try our hardest to win,” Riekhof said. “It’s all about training for state.”
Blue Springs South wins Suburban Gold
When Blue Springs South swim coach Errich Oberlander laid out a goal three seasons ago to win a conference championship, the objective seemed a bit lofty. After all, the Jaguars had never won a swimming title in school history.
That speech is no longer necessary.
Blue Springs South continued its dominance atop the Suburban Gold Conference with its third straight league title Saturday at the Lee’s Summit R-7 Aquatic Center.
“We come here to win now,” Oberlander said. “The first one was really emotional, but now I come here not just hoping to win but expecting to win. I think that attitude rubs off on them, too.”
Apparently so. Blue Springs South claimed last season’s conference championship despite winning none of the individual events. It claimed five individual victories this time.
“It’s definitely a lot different from my freshman year, when we got fifth in conference,” said Jaguars senior Kayla Canon, who won the 200 individual medley and swam a leg of the winning medley relay team. “I’m going to be honest — it feels a lot better to win.”
Lee’s Summit took second in the Suburban Gold Conference with 366.50 points — a distant margin from South’s 512 points. Blue Springs edged Lee’s Summit West for third place.
Lee’s Summit’s Audrey Snyder was the only two-event winner in the meet. She won the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
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