TOPEKA — Wichita Northwest junior Nikki Daniels said she's not known as a strong finisher, but she didn't need to be Saturday in the 100-yard breaststroke finals of the Class 6A swimming meet.
Daniels bolted to a lead of nearly two seconds after one lap and coasted to the state championship at Capitol Federal Natatorium. She pushed her own state record before coming up just short in 1 minute, 3.3 seconds.
"I really wanted that record, and I felt like I had a good shot. I just felt a little bit slower than usual," said Daniels, whose 37 points helped Northwest to 10th in the team standings. "I've still got another year, and getting the state record and winning another championship are going to be the goals. But this was a good end to a pretty good season."
Daniels also finished second in the 200 individual medley, a race that was delayed for more than 20 minutes because of a power outage in the area. Daniels and the other swimmers were on the boards when the lights went out.
"That didn't help. It was definitely a distraction," said Daniels, who posted a time of 2:09.14, about four seconds behind Washburn Rural's Sammie Schurig. "When you're focused and ready, that's tough to have to wait like that. But it was the same for everybody in the race."
Daniels also teamed with Kara Aaby, Haley Stienbach and Jill McPherron on Northwest's 200 medley relay squad that finished sixth (1:52.92).
Aaby was eighth in two events, the 100 butterfly (1:02.13) and 100 backstroke (1:01.07).
Wichita Southeast's Emily Chesser capped her sophomore season with fifth-place performances in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. She posted a 1:56.50 in the freestyle and a 1:00.16 in the backstroke for Southeast, which was 14th in the team standings with 48 points.
"I'm really excited about the meet, how I swam," Chesser said. "I met my goals this year, and it's a good foundation for me to build on for next year. I'm already ready for next season."
Wichita North tied for 12th with 67 points. The 200 freestyle relay team (Kelsey Kraemer, Margueriette Hutchinson, Hannah Silverthorne and McKenzie Strother) was sixth in 1:42.44.
Wichita East's 200 medley relay (Kaitie Shinsato, Kate Spitz, Madelyn Ong and Kaylee Wheeler) was eighth in 1:54.81, and the Aces were 16th.
Campus' Lizzy DeWitt finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.40).