As is often the case with year-round swimmers on high-school teams, Lee’s Summit West’s Maddie Hosick wound up competing in the long-distance events. And like other year-round swimmers Hosick took on those grueling races, even if it wasn’t what she really wanted to do.
Hosick wished to be a sprinter, and when Colleen Gibler began her second stint as the Titans’ girls coach this season, she granted Hosick’s wish for her senior year.
“Her heart was in sprinting, and I promised her I’d let her sprint this year,” Gibler said. “And it’s been fun to watch.”
Gibler watched Hosick become a state qualifier in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races, and she’ll compete in both of them today and Saturday in the Missouri state girls swim meet at the City of St. Peters Rec-Plex in suburban St. Louis. And her qualifying times were low enough to make her a medal contender in both. Two weeks ago at the Suburban Gold Conference meet, Hosick won the 50 free in 24.82 seconds and the 100 free in 53.66 seconds.
“Since I started sprinting this year I haven’t had any expectations for my times,” Hosick said. “So just dropping time is good enough for me.”
Hosick is one of 11 swimmers heading to state for West, which ended Blue Springs South four-year reign as champion at the conference meets. She and sophomore Molly Harmon, who qualified in the 50 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke, are the only two entered in two individual events.
Harmon is also seeded high enough to be in medal contention in both races, which is something considering where she started the season. An upper arm fracture kept her out of the pool last spring and summer, and when the season began she was only allowed to kick and undergo therapy.
“She actually entered some swim meets where she dove in and kicked the whole race,” Gibler said. “That’s how she started her season off and she’s come a very long way.”
West will also have Emma Carr in the 100 breaststroke and Savannah Meyer in the 100 butterfly and Faith Lilly in the backstroke. Lilly and Meyer will also race on the Titans’ relay teams along with Liz Haus, Alexis Stout and Isabel Schnelle. The Titans will also have divers Emily York and Marissa Stahl and Amanda Berkstresser is going as an alternate.
“We had a couple more that were within a hundredth second of qualifying and we were hoping to bring them, too,” Gibler said. “It’s a good solid state team right there, I think.”
Lee’s Summit will compete in all three relays and have four swimmers in individual events. The Tigers highest-seeded swimmers are Katie Gray in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle and Caroline Franciskato in the 100 backstroke and the 500 freestyle.
All told the Tigers will have a contingent of nine swimmers at state, a number that pleases first-year coach Seth Musser.
“I was actually pretty surprised that we were able to get that many to have state cuts,” Musser said. “Getting to have all three relays is kind of a big deal because you not only get to take the four who qualify but also four backup alternates. I was pretty pleased with that actually.”
Also competing for the Tigers will be Delaney Butler, Sara Fletcher, sisters Stephanie and Chris Janczewski, Emily Williams, Cassidy Wright and Hunter Zentner.
Lee’s Summit North has no individual qualifiers but will compete in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Clare Sabata, Hayden Bentley, Cassandra Nanninga and Nhukha Nguyen will swim in both relays, with Amanda Binger and Shelby Wiseman going as alternates.
“We’re seeded close to the bottom,” North coach Brian Ray said. “But they’re fast girls and our goal is to go for a personal best in the relays. It’ll be close if we make it back for finals or not but in one relay (the 400 freestyle) they’ve got a chance.”