The Shawnee Mission East girls entered the preliminaries of the Kansas Class 6A swimming championships with four consecutive titles. And the Lancers appeared to be in the driver’s seat once again after Friday’s preliminaries at the Capitol Federal Natatorium.
SM East used its depth to build an advantage over Sunflower League rival Lawrence Free State and East Kansas League champion Blue Valley Northwest.
“It’s really a tight meet with Lawrence Free State, Blue Valley Northwest and Wichita East,” SM East coach Rob Cole said. “Overall, we had numerous good swims and we really finished well.
“We had a lot of time drops, and we really moved up in places where we needed to.”
The Lancers have only one No. 1 time coming out of the preliminaries. The 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Sarah Allegri, senior Annie Mann, sophomore Bonnie Longan and senior Madeline Peters posted a time of 1:48.98.
The individual highlight of the preliminaries went to BV Northwest senior Hannah Musser. She swam a 54.89 in the 100 butterfly, breaking the meet record of 55.00 set by Blue Valley North’s Ashton Aubry in 2006. She was almost 3 seconds ahead of the second-best prelim mark.
Musser also had the top time of 2:04.35 in the 200 individual medley, almost 8 seconds faster than the second-best clocking.
Lawrence Free State junior Courtney Caldwell had the top qualifying time in both the 50 and 100 freestyles. She had a 23.37 in the 50 and a 50.91 in the 100.
The Firebirds had the top time in two relays.
The foursome of sophomore Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, freshman Simone Herlihy, junior Eliza Anderson and sophomore Cierra Campbell raced to a 1:39.93 in the 200 freestyle relay.
The quartet of Anderson, senior Lucy Sirimongkhon-Dyck, junior Alexa Malik and junior Courtney Campbell had a time of 3:39.4 in the 400 freestyle relay.
BV North sophomore Bentley Hulshof had the best times in the distance freestyle events. She had a 1:53.71 in the 200 freestyle and a 5:09.24 in the 500 freestyle.
In diving, defending state champion Emma Roush of Blue Valley West had a commanding lead with 307.55 points. Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Mallory Wilhite and Blue Valley West’s Payton Kisinger were tied for second with 260.20 points.
Since the Kansas State High School Activities Association started having a separate state meet for the 5-1A schools in 2010, East Kansas League schools have won every state title. And it likely will be more of the same this year.
Defending champion Blue Valley Southwest and St. Thomas Aquinas did well in the swimming prelims.
The Timberwolves had the best qualifying time in the 400 freestyle relay (3:47.43), and junior Maddie Carrigan had the best time in the 200 individual medley at 2:12.08.
“I’m hoping we can finish in the top five,” BV Southwest coach Arvel McElroy said. “We swam well today.”
The Saints had the top qualifying time in the 200 medley relay (1:54.94) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.88).
Bishop Miege freshman Cailey Grunhard had the top qualifying time in the 100 butterfly (56.61) and tied for first with Madison Hutchison of Wichita Bishop Carroll in the 100 backstroke. Both were timed at 56.83.
St. James Academy’s Lauren Gothard led diving competition with 214.40 points followed by Blue Valley Southwest’s Becca Gregory (210.80).
The Star’s Kathleen Gier contributed to this report.