Varsity Kansas

East girls swimmers finish fourth in 6A

Even though East fell seven points shy of earning a top-three finish and state trophy, Blue Aces coach Joe Hutchinson could hardly be disappointed.

“Very pleased with today,” Hutchinson said. “We had a number of school records set and the girls were really motivated and supportive of each other. They were a little nervous after yesterday because they did so well. They wondered how they were going to repeat that performance.”

East sophomore Aiden Chan was looking for a repeat in the 100 breaststroke after capturing the state title in the event last year as a freshman. She qualified fourth on Friday, and had entered last year’s final in a similar spot and powered to the victory.

This time, she couldn’t quite deliver, though she came on strong. After making the turn in third, Chan was able to overtake Shawnee Mission East’s Mary Booton for second but couldn’t quite track down Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Hailey Brull for the title.

Brull won in 1:07.88, while Chan — who had the fastest second lap — was second in 1:08.21.

“It’s one of those things where she was so close,” Hutchinson said. “I’m sure she’s a little disappointed, but there are things we can talk about and improve and she’ll be back next year.”

Chan was joined as a first-team All-Stater by fellow sophomore Madison Allen, who was top-four in two events. Competing in the same events as Free State’s Courtney Caldwell — the state-meet record holder in both events and swimmer of the meet — Allen took second in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 backstroke.

Allen’s time of 52.45 in the 100 free was well off Caldwell’s state-record time of 49.62, but set a school record for East. She clocked a 59.47 in the 100 back to finish five seconds behind Caldwell.

East also got school records from the 200 medley relay team of Allen, Chan, Sammy King and Caitlyn Goodman, who finished third in 1:50.69, and the 200 freestyle relay team of Allen, King, Goodman and Bailey Martin, who were fourth in 1:40.63.

Chan added a sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:15.95), Goodman was seventh in the 50 freestyle (24.93) and Brenna Vandeventer was sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:29.57). East’s 400 freestyle relay team of Martin, Vandeventer, Chan and Audrey Wilson were eighth (3:51.38).

Derby’s Megan Keil couldn’t quite make her state debut a golden one, finishing runner-up in the 50 freestyle. Keil entered finals as the No. 2 seed and despite improving her prelim time by .14 seconds with a 24.26, couldn’t quite keep up with Free State’s Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck, who won in 24.10.

Keil also finished seventh in the 100 freestyle in 55.27 and was a second-team All-State selection.