Girls’ state swimming and diving recap

Allie Hickenbotham, features writer

After stretching caps over their heads, pushing goggles over their eyes and compressing their bodies into kneeskins, the girls’ swim and dive team was ready for state, which took place Feb. 19-20.

“My personal goal for us was to be top 10, and we achieved that goal,” Matt Beasley, KHS swim coach, said. “We are a younger group [of swimmers], and I think we did as good as I hoped for. Overall I was pretty impressed.”

The Pioneers placed eighth overall, with a total of 86 points, including 10 swimmers and two divers who qualified. The swimmers who qualified were juniors Meghan Sheridan, Erin and Audrey Kelly and Katie Brodersen, sophomores Allie Hickenbotham, Claire Lin, Gabi Fischer, Maddie Pearl and Bridget Heartlein, and freshman Victoria Coombes.  Senior divers Shannon McCarthy and Mara Meneely placed 30th and 36th, respectively. McCarthy scored 136.75 points and Meneely scored 86.4 points.

“The main thing for me was learning the timing of the diving board,” Meneely said. “I’m used to fast, quick motions [from gymnastics] and on a diving board you have to be patient to let the board essentially throw you up high in the air.”

Maddie Pearl broke a school record in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 57.23, placing fifth overall. The 200-meter medley relay, including Maddie Pearl, Gabi Fischer, Allie Hickenbotham and Audrey Kelly, also broke a school record with a time of 1:50.42.

“I knew we were capable of breaking the record, so I wasn’t surprised [when we did]” Fischer said. “but I was excited because of all the time we cut and that we’re getting our names on the record board.”

Victoria Coombes competed in the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle relays at state.

“[Participating in two state relays] was the most fun I have ever had swimming,” Coombes said. “The energy and excitement was so exhilarating. I always get nervous before races, so it [did not feel like] anything unusual.”

KHS has been undefeated in dual meets and conference champions for the past three years. Each swimmer who qualified for state this year will still be on the team next year.
“I think we are definitely capable of scoring more points,” Beasley said. “We are all going to get better and faster, so that’s a good thing.”