The Kansas girls swimming and diving state meet is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. Competition will be held in Class 6A and Class 5-1A. Here are five storylines to watch during the event.
1. Firebirds soaring high
The Sunflower League champion Lawrence Free State girls swim team looks like a major threat to win the Class 6A state title, with the top seed in nine of 12 events entering the meet.
Senior Courtney Caldwell, who already has won nine state titles, is the favorite to win the 100-yard freestyle. She already holds the state record in the event. She should also contend in the 100 backstroke, where she is seeded ahead of SM East’s Bonnie Longan, the defending state champion.
Lawrence Free State freshman Alvena Walpole has top qualifying times in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
2. Can SM East continue its streak?
Shawnee Mission East’s 11-year streak as Sunflower League champion came to an end recently. Now, the Lancers’ five-year state champion streak is on the line.
SM East coach Rob Cole admits his team was not at its best at the Sunflower League meet and he has spent the time in between getting his girls rested and ready for a rematch with Lawrence Free State at the state meet on Friday and Saturday.
Sophomore Crissie Blomquist, the Sunflower League champion in the 500 freestyle, is the Lancers’ only No. 1 seed at the state meet. She is also seeded second in the 200 freestyle.
Longan, Sarah Allegri and Rilye Fries are seeded second in their respective events and the Lancers are the No. 2 seed in two of three relays.
3. BV Southwest is Class 5-1A defending champ
The Blue Valley Southwest girls are the Class 5-1A two-time defending state champions and there are early signs they might be able to do it again.
The Timberwolves have the top qualifying times in two individual events. EKL champions Madison Batkiewicz and Maddie Carrigan are the top seed in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke, respectively. BV Southwest also returns defending diving champion Becca Gregory.
Additionally, the Timberwolves are the favorites in two of three relays.
4. BV North brings depth to 6A
Blue Valley North coach Derek Berg knew it would take a lot of depth to win the loaded Eastern Kansas League meet. Lucky for him, the Mustangs’ strength is their depth.
BV North won just one relay — the 200 freestyle — but were able to escape with a seven-point victory over BV Southwest for the EKL title. The BV North 200 freestyle relay team of Mallory McKee, Marjie Trussell, Grace Brimacombe and Olivia Vance are seeded fifth in Class 6A with a time of 1 minute, 44.16 seconds.
The Mustangs finished in the top three in seven additional events at the league meet.
5. Divers take aim on titles
Kansas Class 5-1A one-meter defending diving champion Becca Gregory of Blue Valley Southwest placed third at the recent Eastern Kansas League meet, but she will have a chance for redemption this weekend.
BV West’s Payton Kisinger won the EKL diving title and BV North’s Annie Turner placed second. However, Turner will be competing with Sunflower League champion Katie Geracie of SM West in the Class 6A diving competition.