Varsity Kansas

East swimmers win seventh straight City League title

East freshman Julia Whitfield climbed out of the pool to smiles, high fives and hugs. A fourth-place finish in the girls’ 100-yard freestyle doesn’t always signal such celebrations, but this one was different.

Whitfield not only qualified for state with her time of 59.39. She also completed a top-4 sweep for East in the event. Teammates Madison Allen, Caitlyn Goodman and Bailey Martin took first, second and third, respectively, ahead of Whitfield. But the freshman wasn’t worried about beating her teammates after securing a spot in the state championships.

“I got it under a minute. I’ve been working toward this the entire season,” she said. “All along I’m just trying to keep up with the others.”

The 100-yard freestyle sweep was a microcosm of a City League girls wwimming and diving championship dominated by East. The girls claimed their seventh consecutive City League title by winning 6 of 8 individual events and 2 of the 3 relays, topping second-place Kapaun by more than 200 points.

While another championship isn’t new, coach Joe Hutchinson, in his 17th year at East, did show a little pride in seeing his girls claim the top four spots in a single event.

“It’s the first time it’s happened since I’ve been coaching,” he said. “It’s been a silly goal of mine. It’s nothing to strive for, but it’s cool when it happens.”

Heights, the event’s host and perhaps the only team with the talent to challenge East, lost much of its threat with injuries to sophomores Katelyn Blattner and Maggie Hatfield. Neither competed in the meet and coach Dale Heckman said their status for state is unknown.

Aside from East’s dominance, Bishop Carroll’s Tatum Hilger also excelled. She was the only non-blue ace to win an individual event, capturing first in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. Hilger also anchored a 400-yard freestyle relay team that beat East by 1.33 seconds in the final event of the night.

Brenna Vandeventer (200-yard individual medley), Caitlyn Goodman (50-yard freestyle), Sammy King (100-yard butterfly) and Madison Allen (100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke) took individual first places for East, which tallied more points (452) than second-place Kapaun and third-place Bishop Carroll combined.

Hutchinson said he expects even better performances when several of his girls compete at the state level.

“They always race as hard as they can,” he said. “But the kids weren’t fully rested for this meet. They should be better rested, so they should be faster at state.”

Team Scores

East 452, Kapaun 246, Carroll 196, Northwest 138, North 88, Heights 85, South 42, Southeast 36, West 19.

Individual Results

200-yard medley – 1. East (Allen, Chan, King, Goodman), 1:53.72; 2. Kapaun, 2:02.56; 3. Northwest, 2;08.37. 200 freestyle – 1. Hilger, Carroll, 2:02.17; 2. Chadd, Carroll, 2:07.47; 3. Shepherd, East, 2:08.55. 200 individual medley – 1. Vandeventer, East, 2:17.50; 2. Chan, East, 2:18.70; 3. Hennen, Carroll, 2:29.83. 50 free – 1. Goodman, East, 25.99; 2. Biby, Carroll, 26.33; 3. Baldessari, Kapaun, 27.20. Diving – 1. Aaby, Northwest, 387.85; 2. Clough, East, 347.70; 3. Gridley, East, 285.50. 100 butterfly – 1. King, East, 1:02.22; 2. Biby, Carroll, 1:03.42; 3. Hwang, East, 1:04.83. 100 free – 1. Allen, East, 53.74; 2. Goodman, East, 57.12; 3. Martin, East, 58.89. 500 free – 1. Hilger, Carroll, 5:24.80; 2. Vandeventer, East, 5:32.09; 3. Balch, East, 5:39.80. 200 relay – 1. East (Allen, King, Martin, Goodman), 1:43.99; 2. Carroll, 1:46.41; 3. Northwest, 1:51.91. 100 backstroke – 1. Allen, East, 59.83; 2. Hwang, East, 1:06.56; 3. Vanderpool, Kapaun, 1:07.29. 100 breaststroke – 1. Chan, East, 1:09.61; 2. King, East, 1:12.10; 3. Lavacek, East, 1:14.18. 400 relay – 1. Carroll (Biby, Chadd, Hennen, Hilger), 3:51.45; 2. East, 3:52.78; 3. Northwest, 4:09.23.