The Missouri high school girls state swimming and diving championships will take place Friday and Saturday at the City of St. Peters Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo. Here are five things to watch at the state meet:
1. Lone champion takes aim
The crop of Kansas City-area swimmers includes only one defending state champion among the individual events — Park Hill South junior Tori Beeler.
And she could be in line for a repeat. Beeler won the 200-yard individual medley last season, and she's seeded second in the event this week, behind only Hickman sophomore Brittany Wen.
But why stop there? Beeler is also seeded first in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.33 seconds.
She could power a strong finish for Park Hill South in the team standings. The Panthers should be in the mix for a top-three finish Saturday.
If so, freshman Paige Riekhof will certainly play a role, too. Riekhof is seeded fifth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 100 butterfly.
Speaking of which...
2. KC presence in 100 fly
The 100-yard butterfly is littered with Kansas City area talent. Five of the top 10 swimmers in the event hail from the KC area, the most among any of the state-meet races.
Lee’s Summit senior Audrey Snyder is seeded fourth with a time of 58.35 seconds, and she's also ranked 10th in the 200 individual medley.
As for the crowded 100 butterfly, Lee’s Summit West junior Sarah Raymond is seeded sixth, followed by Riekhof seventh, Blue Springs South freshman Lauren Markley ninth and Park Hill South junior Maggie Hickey 10th.
3. Divers look to contend
A pair of divers figure to challenge for spots on the podium.
Notre Dame de Sion junior Margaret Brandmeyer finished ninth at the state meet last February, and she’s enjoyed an accolade-filled season, winning the Kansas City Classic one-meter diving competition last month with a final score of 378.1 points.
Blue Springs South has been particularly strong in diving competitions this season, with senior Allie Steinhauser leading the way. Steinhauser won the Suburban Gold Conference meet two weeks ago with a score of 420.85.
4. Panthers a force in relays
Some of the area’s best medal chances will come in the relay races — especially from Park Hill South.
The Panthers’ chances to compete for a state title will likely hinge on their performances in the relays. They won the 200 medley relay last season, and they’re seeded second in the event this week. They are also seeded third in the 200 freestyle relay and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Park Hill is seeded sixth in the 400 freestyle relay. The Trojans won the event at the Suburban Red Conference meet. Their top individual seeding comes in the 500 freestyle, where Madison Heydinger is ranked ninth.
5. Watch the high seeds
Only two Kansas City area swimmers are taking No. 1 seeds into the state meet — the aforementioned Beeler and Kearney senior Madison Strathman.
Strathman is ranked first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 4.93 seconds. She’s also ranked fifth in the 200 individual medley.
Other top seedings belong to Park Hill South junior Anna Riekhof, who is fifth in the 100 breaststroke; Oak Park sophomore Allee Armitage, seventh in the 200 freestyle; Lee's Summit West freshman Gaby Miciano, eighth in the 100 backstroke; Blue Springs South senior Kayla Canon, 10th in the 100 backstroke; and Raymore-Peculiar junior Maddi Brusick, 10th in the 50 freestyle.