The Rockhurst Hawklets have left the Missouri boys swimming and diving championships with a first-place trophy for 10 straight seasons.
If a day of preliminary races is any indication — and it often is — the Hawklets could be set to hang yet another banner.
Rockhurst swimmers won five of the 11 preliminary events Friday night at the St. Peters Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo.
The top eight finishers in each of Friday’s preliminary races qualified for the finals, which will take place Saturday at the same location. The 1-meter diving championship is also set for Saturday.
“It’s all locked into place now. I think the boys are mentally prepared for the emotional roller coaster that’s coming (Saturday),” Rockhurst coach Paul Winkeler said. “I think that’s the biggest benefit of having won before. They know what’s coming, and they’re ready for it.”
The preliminary schedule started in style for Rockhurst when it won the 200-yard medley relay. The Hawklets entered the day ranked first in all three relays, but they settled for second in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays. Park Hill swam the fastest times in both of those.
Rockhurst sophomore Collin Nill was the pacesetter for the individual swims. He will take the top seed in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle into Saturday’s championship events. Nill placed third in the state in the 500 freestyle last season.
Hawklets junior AJ Iseman qualified first in the 100 butterfly preliminary, and senior Alex Albracht did the same in the 100 backstroke after placing second in the 200 individual medley.
“I was very pleased and impressed with how they swam,” Winkeler said. “I think day one is probably more nerve-wracking than day two in a lot of aspects, and they swam well.”
Park Hill is in position to challenge for a top-five placing Saturday. Or perhaps even better.
In additions to the two relay victories, the Trojans also saw junior Marcin Glebocki set the pace in the 50 freestyle. Glebocki placed second in the race at last year’s state meet. He is the two-time Suburban Red Conference champion in the event.
The relays will be filled with local schools in the finals. Rockhurst, Lee’s Summit North and Staley will race in the 200 medley; Park Hill, Rockhurst, Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit North and Raytown qualified in the 200 freestyle; and Park Hill, Rockhurst and Park Hill South will compete in the 400 freestyle.
Lee’s Summit North senior Michael Hynes qualified second in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 50 freestyle. Park Hill senior Barry Chang qualified fourth in the 200 individual medley.