TOPEKA – To be honest, Megan Keil couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked at the clock following her individual races at the Class 6A girls swimming championships.
In both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles during Friday’s preliminaries at Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium, the Derby freshman obliterated her seed times. Keil chopped more than a second off her previous best in the 50 and then whacked a whopping three seconds off her best in the 100.
“I was really surprised,” Keil said. “I was really nervous coming in. I got off to a really good start and I’m just excited for tomorrow now.”
As she should be. The time drops thrust Keil right into the mix for gold in Saturday’s finals.
Keil’s time of 24.40 seconds in the 50 free was the second-best mark of the day, just .20 behind Free State junior Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck’s top time of 24.20. She came back in the 100 free to post a 54.20, faster than her seed time of 57.47, though a title in that event is a long shot with Free State’s Courtney Caldwell breaking her own meet record in the event Friday with a 50.01.
Still, Keil likes her position in the 50.
“I really didn’t know what to expect coming in as a freshman,” Keil said. “It’s going to be really fun and I like being second seed. It’s a really good place for me to be in.”
East had a solid day, picking up nine qualifiers for the championship finals, including a pair of individual top-eight marks from Madison Allen and Aiden Chan and all three relays.
Allen qualified second in the 100 freestyle in 52.73 and added a fourth in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.03. Chan qualified fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.91 and seventh in the 200 individual medley in 2:17.05.
Caitlyn Goodman (sixth in the 50 freestyle) and Brenna Vandeventer (sixth in the 500 freestyle) added individual berths. The 200 medley relay team of Allen, Chan, Goodman and Sammy King qualified third (1:51.57), the 200 freestyle relay team of Goodman, King, Allen and Bailey Martin qualified fourth (1:41.64) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Martin, Vadeventer, Audrey Wilson and Chan qualified eighth (3:51.93).
Class 6A finals begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.