Glendale High School’s Will Brand was the only dual event-winner at Missouri’s boys state high school swim meet, although he shared one title in a rare tie for the top spot.
Brand tied with Parkway Central senior Zach Rogers in the 200 free, with both swimmers going lifetime-best 1:41.07s. Rogers jumped out to the early lead, but Brand made up tremendous ground on the final 50 to grab a share of the state title.
Brand, who will swim for Missouri State next fall, came back later in the meet to grab the top spot in the 100 fly with a time of 50.77, another lifetime-best.
Staley High School kicked off the meet with a come-from-behind win in the 200 medley. Senior anchor Ryan Duffy pulled off a fantastic swim, going 20.97 to take Staley from 4th to 1st. The time is even more impressive considering Duffy was only 21.9 in the open 50 – he clearly thrived in relay run-down mode. Staley’s team of Daniel Maynard, Nathaniel Vawter, Alex Gach and Duffy was 1:36.39, followed closely by Rockhurst (1:36.67), Parkway Central (1:36.93), and St. Louis University High School (1:36.94).
Lee’s Summit North senior Ethan Bresette won the 200 IM, another close race, going 1:51.17 to best Nick Alexander‘s 1:51.52. Alexander took the lead on the backstroke leg, but Bresette roared back in the breaststroke to close the gap and overtook Alexander on the freestyle. Ryan Baker, a future Missouri Tiger, was third in 1:53.25 just ahead of Rockhurst’s Alex Albracht‘s 1:53.65.
The 50 free was a veteran affair, with 7 of the top 8 spots going to seniors.Kevin Steinhouse out of John Burroughs took home the win in 21.00. The youngest swimmer of the bunch was runner-up and sophomore Marcin Glebocki, who went 21.15. Connor Gregston and Sam Stapleton were next with times of 21.41 and 21.42 respectively.
Rockhurst padded its overall points lead by going 1-2 in the diving event. Sophomore David Knopke scored 436.80 to win the event, while teammate Zach Cook took second with 409.60, just barely outscoring one of the best names in the field, Laffayette sophomore Matt McCool.
Will Brand was the butterfly champion, but the race was close – St. Louis Univerity High senior Luke Sloan was tracking him down in the back half. Sloan finished second in 51.00, cutting a half-second off of his prelims swim. Tommy Christensen out of Parkway West was third in 51.72, a second faster than he was when he finished 7th last season.
Four swimmers hit the wall together in the 100 free, with Sam Stapleton winning for Rockwood Summit. His time of 46.45 shows a huge improvement from his previous lifetime best, which was just 48.30 entering this high school season. Connor Gregston was second (46.61), Marcin Glebocki third (46.73), and Alex Crawford fourth (46.92). Another strong swim came out of the consolation heat, where Jonah Korondi, a Liberty senior, dropped 1.5 seconds, going 46.73 to take the heat with a time that would have tied for third overall.
Ryan Baker, who has signed on with the Mizzou Tigers for 2014, took home the 500 free title easily in 4:28.22. The 500 was probably the only high school event long enough to showcase Baker’s talent – he projects as a distance specialist for Missouri. Second was 200 IM Ethan Bresette in 4:36.49. A name to watch in the future is Collin Nill. The Rockhurst freshman went 4:40.52 for third place, but has improved drastically this season. His lifetime best just a month ago was 4:55.02, and at a mere 14 years old Nill would appear to have much more improvement potential. Fort Zumwalt West senior Mitch Kraus won the consolation heat, dropping over three seconds from prelims to go 4:48.73.
John Burroughs emerged the winners in the 200 free relay. The team of Daniel Diemer, Vaios Kouvelis, Tyler Waterman and Kevin Steinhouse won in 1:26.07. Just like the medley relay, the race was won in a comeback. This time it was thanks to Steinhouse, who split 20.22 to bring John Burroughs back for the win past Lee’s Summit North’s team, which finished second in 1:26.71.
The 100 backstroke came down to one one-hundredth of a second with 200 IM runner-up Nick Alexander of Vianney taking home the title in 50.65. Just a tick away from tying for his second title was Zach Rogers, who finished second in 50.66. Will O’Shea and Alex Crawford each took a few more tenths off of their lifetime-best prelims swims, taking 3rd and 4th, respectively with 51-second swims.
The 100 breast was another close race, and in this one freshman Jordan Hill ran down Rockhurst’s Alex Albracht in the second half. Hill, whose father is his coach at Nixa High School, was the only swimmer to come back in under 30 seconds; he won in 57.68 to top Albrecht, who went 57.75. 7 of the top 8 swimmers got under a minute after only five did so in the preliminaries.
The 400 free relay was a rematch of the 200, with John Burroughs’ senior Kevin Steinhouse once again making a comeback charge. But this time Lee’s Summit North senior Ethan Bresette was able to hold him off, giving his relay (Michael Hynes, Thomas Reilly, James White, and Bresette) a .2-second win, 3:09.91 to 3:10.14. Steinhouse was 45.1 on the anchor leg for the runners-up.
Rockhurst took the overall team title in a show of depth, winning only one event along the way. Despite this, the team won by a safe 60 point margin over second-place Blue Springs South.
Top 5 Teams
1 Rockhurst 220
2 Blue Springs South 163
3 Lee’s Summit North 161
4 Parkway Central 143.5
5 John Burroughs 133