Joco Sports

STATE RECAP: 913 area swimmers, divers excel in state spotlight

The Shawnee Mission East girls' swimming and diving team made it four straight Kansas Class 6A state championships last Saturday in Topeka.

The Lancers scored 404 points in clearly outdistancing runner-up Lawrence Free State by 109 points.

For the six seniors who swam at state, it was a perfect end of their high school careers swimming for the Lancers. The six are Meg Stanley, Sarah Freshnock, Elizabeth Bittiker, Tiernan Shank, Riley Hunter and Paige Steiert.

Blue Valley Northwest junior Hannah Musser swam for the Huskies for the first time this spring.

She has had three older brothers swim for the school, including senior Jesse this school year. He won the 200- and 500-yard free-style events at state for the boys' team in February.

Hannah anchored the Huskies' 200 medley relay team to victory and also won the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 4.18 seconds and 100 butterfly in 55.86 seconds.

What made Hannah want to join her high school team in her junior year?

“Watching my teammates compete at state last year pulled me into (high school) swimming this year,” she said.

Blue Valley Northwest sophomore Courtney Laird was living in northern Virginia last school year, swimming for Woodridge, Va., High School and her club team.

Having moved to Overland Park, she swam for the BV Northwest team this spring and also for the Kansas City Blazers club team.

She swam the breast stroke leg of the Huskies winning 200 medley relay team, placed seventh in the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 15.53 seconds and won the 100 breast stroke in 1:06.54.

“This is my best high school time ever (in breast stroke),” she said.

It was a tough meet for St. Thomas Aquinas senior Sara Lopez.

She had the top mark in the preliminaries in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, but she was edged in the final of the two events by Lawrence Seabury Academy junior Phoebe Grabill. In the 200, Grabill's time was 1 minute, 54.31 seconds to Lopez's 1:54.52.

It was even closer in the 500.

Blue Valley Southwest won the Kansas 5-1A girls' swimming state championship, giving the school its first state team title in three-year history.

Coach Arvel McElroy was picked as the 5-1A coach of the year, and senior Hannah Angell was the swimmer of the meet. Angell won two events, and her time in the 100-yard backstroke of 55.38 seconds was a state meet record and an automatic All-American mark. She also won the 100 butterfly.