Other Varsity Sports

Kilgore, Fee sparkle at state meet

TOPEKA — Christian Kilgore isn't quite sure just how fast he could have gone Saturday at the Class 5-1A state swim meet had he had someone to push him.

Same goes for Hutchinson's Robby Fee.

Both would have loved to have found out.

"I really wanted the meets to state together, I really like swimming against 6A," Fee said. "I've swam against most of those guys my whole life and I just enjoy the competition."

Kilgore agreed.

"Last year, I went pretty fast when it was together," Kilgore said. "That part of me wishes I was swimming with the other guys (in 6A), but at the same time, it is what it is and I'm still happy with the way things turned out."

Both Kilgore and Fee had plenty to be happy about. Kilgore dominated the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke and Fee blew away the competition in both the 200 and 500 freestyles as each struck double gold at the Capitol Federal Natatorium pool.

Fee's dominating effort earned him swimmer of the meet honors as he won the 200 free by nearly five seconds in 1 minute, 45.27 seconds and took the 500 free by more than 20 seconds with his winning time of 4:52.17.

"I probably could have gone around a 1:40 in the 200 and a 4:37 in the 500," Fee said. "There was a little less nervousness than you do going in with the 6A guys because it's so fast, but it's still state and it's still a good feeling to win a state title."

Kilgore's margin of victory wasn't quite as impressive as Fee's, but was dominating just the same. A third-place finisher in the 100 breast last year when there was just one state meet for all classes, Kilgore captured the 5-1A title by a second and a half with his winning time of 58.65 seconds.

Earlier in the day, he cruised to a 4 1/2 second victory in the 200 IM, finishing in 1:55.31.

"This is something I've dreamed about since I was little, becoming a state champion, so now to be one is amazing," said Kilgore, who will swim collegiately at Georgetown. "Even though I had a good lead, I still went into my races thinking they were going to be close. I still wanted to push myself to do my best."

While Kilgore and Fee were expected to claim state gold, Kapaun Mount Carmel's Ryan Zwick entered Saturday's finals of the 50 freestyle as somewhat of a longshot. He had qualified just fourth in the event, putting him in lane six for the finals.

But he also knew he'd made a slight mistake during Friday's preliminaries, and in the 50 the slightest mistakes makes the biggest difference.

"It was my best time, but I also slipped a bit on the block," Zwick said of Friday's swim, which resulted in a time of 22.68, just .55 off the pace set by Miege's Michael Jury. "I thought maybe I could take off another half-second."

He nearly did. Zwick caught the field by a bit of a surprise and just out-touched Paola's Weatherbie, winning in 22.24 to Weatherbie's 22.34. Jury slipped to fourth in 22.47.

"I had a good start, a good flip turn and I just put my head down and went," said Zwick, who also took third in the 100 freestyle. "You just have to go in thinking anyone can win."

While Zwick's victory in the 5-1A 50 free was about fine-tuning, Logan Lassley's in the 6A 50 free was about redemption. At last year's state meet, North's Lassley entered the state meet with one of the fastest times in the event, only to have a bad day in the prelims and slip to 14th.

"I totally lost and added like a half-second," Lassley said. "I said that wasn't going to happen this year and once I got into the finals in second, I just said, 'Now it's time to go and swim as fast as I can.'"

Just like the 5-1A 50, the 6A race was a frenzy. Lassley finished strong this time and just out-touched SM East's Clay Finley to win by .11 seconds (21.67-21.78).

"You have to have the perfect race," Lassley said. "My first instinct was to look at the board and see where I was. I just yelled and screamed and hugged my coach, my friends, my grandpas, my aunt, my mom. Everybody."

Led by Zwick's pair of top-three finishes, Kapaun finished runner-up in the Class 5-1A team race, scoring 209 points to finish second to Salina South's 268.5.

Wichita Trinity's David Berry entered Saturday's 5-1A 100 backstroke finals with far and away the top qualifying time, holding nearly a two-second edge on Salina South's Bryce Kampfe. But Kampfe had plenty in reserve for the finals and beat Berry by a half-second with a winning time of 55.03 - almost three seconds faster than his qualifying mark.

Kapaun's Jake Spitz also entered Saturday as a top qualifier, posting the fastest 6A 100 butterfly time. But like Berry, he couldn't maintain that standing in the finals, slipping to third behind Washburn Rural's Grant Rogers (50.61) and Blue Valley North's Nathan Hoisington (51.76) with his time of 51.80.

Class 6A — Maize posted the highest team finish in 6A, taking fourth with 197 points. The Eagles collected 10 top-eight finishes at the meet, including third-place finishes from the 200 medley relay, Taylor Rice in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and Jared Roberts in the 500 freestyle.

Heights' Ian Cullinan added a runner-up finish to state record-holder Ben Scheffer of Olathe East in the 100 backstroke, coming in just .37 seconds behind Scheffer in 52.42 seconds.

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