Blue Valley Southwest junior Natalie Leachner did the unthinkable in Saturday’s finals of the diving championships at the Class 5-1A State swimming and diving meet at Capitol Federal Natatorium.
Leachner upset three-time defending state champion Haylee Weiss of Emporia with a new state meet record of 486.90. Leachner broke the meet record of 477.95 that had been set by Blue Valley West’s Payton Kisinger.
“It’s feels really amazing,” Leachner said. “Being able to come back and overcome my situation (last year) was really amazing. (Haylee’s) really amazing. She knows how to dive. She’s just a great competitor. I just really tried to do my best.”
Piper Lindsey of St. Thomas Aquinas took third in the diving with a score of 391.60.
Leachner led the Timberwolves as their sole state champion as they finished third in the overall team competition with 232 points (to Bishop Carroll’s 291 and Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s 284).
BV Southwest got second-place finishes from the 200 medley relay team, Sarah Graven in the 100-yard backstroke and a fourth-place finish by the 400 free relay.
Aquinas captures relay crown
On a day when Bishop Carroll got the better of almost everyone in the swimming events, Aquinas was able to grab a title.
St. Thomas Aquinas picked up a state crown in the 200-yard freestyle relay on Saturday: The team of Aubrey Hesser, Maddie Kopp, Jesse Paxton and Allie Micklavzina touched first with a time of 1 minute, 40.33 seconds. Carroll finished second at 1:41.31.
Wichita’s Bishop Carroll is overall champion
Bishop Carroll was trailing Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 252-251, heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay on Saturday.
With a first-place finish in the 400-free relay (3:35.29), the quartet of Sydney Schmidt, Alexis Webb, Lexie Shelton and Zoe Winter helped the Golden Eagles to their first state championship in program history with 291 points, edging Kapuan by seven points.
“I was just thinking, ’Man, it comes down to this one race, so I’ve got to give it everything I’ve got,’” Schmidt said.
Carroll had five individual champions, and three relays claimed gold. Schmidt was named the co-athlete of the meet along with Topeka West’s Kadance Jefferies.
Schmidt earned two gold medals individually. She swam a 23.78 in the 50-yard freestyle, which was .01 away from tying a meet record that was set in 1998 by Winfield’s Kathy Echiverri. Schmidt finished the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.96.