Lafayette reclaims Suburban West Conference girls swim meet championship
By: Warren Mayes
Lafayette coach Todd Gabel got all wet but the veteran girls swimming coach did not mind.
His Lancers regain the Suburban West Conference meet championship and his reward was a dip in the Lafayette pool.
“They pushed me a little but I jumped,” said Gabel, who swam in college at Missouri State when it was known as Southwest Missouri State. “The water was nice. It was hot in there all day. It was either get pushed in or go in so I went in. The girls sure enjoyed it. They all jumped in after I got in.
“They were really pumped up about winning. We had fun.”
Lafayette has won the conference meet for 27 consecutive years before losing to Parkway South last year. This time, the Lancers got their title back with 478 points. The other team scores were: Parkway South 429, Marquette 372, Eureka 188, Lindbergh 163, Oakville 141, and Mehlville 52.
“It was awesome to win again,” Gabel said. “They did really well. I’m very, very happy with it. I knew it was going to be close. They were definitely determined to win and swim as the best they could.”
Indeed. Several Lancers have personal best times in the meet.
“We had a lot of best times,” Gabel said. “That was good to see. It’s from mostly all the hard work they did all year. It paid off. They put their hearts into swimming at conference. They’ve trained very well over the season.”
Gabel said he was pleased with how well his Lancers performed.
“It’s a great group of girls. They’re fun to be around,” Gabel said. “They’re all very positive. They all enjoy being around each other.”
The Lancers had several swimmers achieving lifetime best swims and grabbing new state qualifications in the meet, along with all four of the Lafayette divers making it to finals and taking second, fourth, ninth and 15th place.
Lafayette senior Laura Paskoff held off Parkway South’s Samm Crocker in the 100 freestyle to achieve a new lifetime best of 53.15 seconds to top Crocker’s 53.67. Paskoff also got a new lifetime best in the 50 freestyle with a time 24.83, but took a very close second to Crocker in that event, who finished in 24.82.
Lafayette junior Mae Riordan won both of her events – the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle – holding off Parkway South senior CeCe Etter in the 500 with a time of 5 minutes, 5.28 seconds. to Etter’s 5:06.14.
Sophomore Claire Kirchhoefer won both of her events as well, going lifetime best times in the 100 breast with a 1:06.84 and in the 200 individual medley with a 2:10.22.
Senior Kelly Shaw took second place in diving with a score of 348. Senior Emily Slater took fourth with 336.95, Sophomore Grace Delaney took 9th with 258.70 and Junior Anna Bader took 15th with 215.20. Eureka’s Freshman Sarah Mink won the diving event with 356 points.
The Lancers relays also made a solid showing at the meet. The 200 medley relay team went a new best time – 1:52.64 – with Katherine Lucken, Kirchhoefer, Taylor Holz and Paskoff. And despite a second place finish to Parkway South’s time of 3:40.85, the Lancers’ 400 free relay team dropped seven seconds from their season’s best, going 3:41.24 with Paskoff, Holz, Riordan and Gretchen Cox swimming.
Other Lafayette meet highlights were:
* 200 freestyle: Fourth place to Lauren Hansen, 1:59.88 for a season best time and new state qualification.
* 200 individual medley: Fourth place to Cox in 2:14.93 for a season best time and new state qualification and seventh place to Holz in 2:17.36 for a season best time and new state qualification.
* 50 freestyle: Seventh place to Lucken, ninth to Erin Newcomer at 26.31 for a season best time, and 12th to Olivia Thoelke at 26.90 for a season best time.
The other winner at the conference meet were Marquette’s Abby Watson in the 100 back at 1:00.87.
“It was a really good conference meet,” Gabel said. “All of the teams swam well and competed hard.”
* 100 butterfly: Second to Holz at 1:00.94 for a season best time, sixth to Olivia Vanlue at 1:03.23 for a season best time, seventh to Mollie MacRae at 1:03.71 for a season best time and ninth to Erin Newcomer at 1:03.74 for a season best time.
* 100 freestyle: Fifth to Lauren Hansen at 56.35 for a season best time and new state qualification.
* 500 freestyle: Third to Cox at 5:15.20 for a season best time, 12th to Emma Riordan at 5:51.91 for a season best time and 15th to Stephanie Widdicombe at 6:14.33 for a season best time.
* 100 backstroke: Third to Lucken at 1:02.48 for a season best time, sixth to Kendall Hansen at 1:05.07 for a season best time, eighth to Kayla Eckardt at 1:05.28 for a season best time and 15th to Julie Sun at 1:12.51 for a season best time.
* 100 breaststroke: Fifth to Mollie MacRae at 1:14.78 for a season best time, seventh to Emily Hepper at 1:15.90 for a season best time and 16th to Anneliese Wilmsen at 1:21.75 for a season best time.
The other meet winner was Marquette junior Abby Watson winning the 100 back in 1:00.87.
“It was a good conference meet,” Gabel said. “All the teams swam well and competed hard. It was good to see that.”