The Kansas high school Class 6A and 5-1A boys swimming and diving state championships will take place Friday and Saturday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. Here are five things to watch at the state meet:
1. Defending champions
The Kansas City area will send three defending champions to the state meets this weekend.
Lawrence Free State’s Jordan Portela leads the group, with a pair of titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly. He is the favorite to win both events again.
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Brian North of Kansas Class 6A defending state champion Blue Valley North will look to repeat in the 50 freestyle. He is seeded second behind Lawrence Free State’s Jack Ziegler, who has a 35-second advantage.
Then, there is Blue Valley West’s Daniel Fecteau, who is a two-time defending state champion in one-meter diving.
2. Diving dominance
Speaking of Fecteau, he made quite the name for himself in his first three seasons, when he placed third as a freshman and won back-to-back Class 6A state titles the next two years.
Blue Valley West dropped to Class 5A this season, but that should not slow him down.
Fecteau is fresh off an Eastern Kansas League victory, where he outscored the second place diver by 87.7 points. He already holds school records in both the six-dive and 11-dive events. He will dive in the fall at Louisville.
3. Team title contention
Two Kansas City area schools took home team state titles last year and at least one appears to have another good chance to repeat.
Blue Valley North is the 6A defending champion and the Mustangs are the favorites in three events. Ryan McMonigle has a 1.78-second advantage in the 100 backstroke. BV North also is the top seed in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay. The Mustangs won their sixth consecutive Eastern Kansas League title this year.
The other defending team champion is Bishop Miege, which won the Class 5-1A state title last year. Miege’s road will be harder, after losing three top swimmers to graduation. The Stags placed sixth out of seven teams in the EKL meet.
4. Look out for the Lancers
With 12 consecutive Sunflower League titles under their belt, it is hard to overlook the Shawnee Mission East Lancers in Class 6A.
They are seeded in the top three in five events and are No. 1 in two of them. Freshman Aidan Holbrook is the favorite in the 500 freestyle and Benjamin Schmatz is the top seed in the 100 breaststroke.
The Lancers are especially dangerous in the relays and are seeded in the top three in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
5. Timberwolves at the top
The Blue Valley Southwest boys placed third at the Class 5-1A state meet last season.
The Timberwolves finished fifth in the EKL meet this season, but after you take out the 6A squads in the EKL, the battle boils down to BV Southwest, Blue Valley West, Bishop Miege and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Blue Valley Southwest is projected to finish in the top three in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. Andrew Goode and Ian Holman of BV Southwest will contend for individual state titles in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle.
Blue Valley West’s Jordan Cowen is the favorite in the 100 breaststroke. He is also seeded second in the 100 freestyle.