Parkway West ends girls swimming season with second-place finish at state meet
By: Warren Mayes
The Parkway West Longhorns may have surprised some at the 38th annual Missouri girls state swimming and diving championship but not coach Allison Zeller.
The Longhorns finished tied for second in the meet held at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters.
“I told the girls going into the meet that we had a chance to get some hardware,” Zeller said. “I wanted us to stand on the podium as a team and get top four. After prelims, I knew it was going to be a very competitive meet and that it was possible for us to get top three.
” I did not expect it to be a half point separating second through fourth place. Glendale is a strong team and will be tough again next year. We knew that they would be a tough competitor going into the meet.”
Springfield Glendale won with 190 points. Parkway West and Notre Dame de Sion each had 151.5 points while Parkway South was fourth with 151 points.
“I’m very proud of what the girls accomplished at state,” Zeller said. “Now, (it’s) back to planning and seeing what we can do to get back on top.”
Although Parkway West captured the Suburban South Conference meet, the Longhorns were not mentioned among the favorites to medal at the state meet. The squad finished 14th in 2012 and were without Kate Gately, who won two individual events and graduated.
Zeller knew that going into the pressure-packed state meet.
“We are a young team so for most of them, it was their first time experiencing a state meet,” Zeller said. “I wanted them to soak in every minute and enjoy the experience because this is what high school swimming is all about. They were tapered and ready to swim fast. Luckily (on the first day), they performed like they were capable of and got themselves into the right sports for the second day.”
The Longhorns won the 200 medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 50.03 seconds. Girls on the relay team were Caroline Bias, Natalie Folkins, Carolyn Kammeyer, and Kristen Petersen. That time gave them a new school record. The previous school record was 1:53.98.
“We were seeded second in the 200 medley coming into state,” Zeller said. “At the conference finals, the girls were able to drop 5 seconds (1:51.86) in the event. When they swam faster at prelims, I knew they had the ability to win that event as long as they got up and raced. Our medley relay is young but they are competitive and I knew they had it in them.”
The relay has three freshmen and a sophomore with Folkins being the old-timer on the unit.
“These girls are on different club teams so during high school is the only time that they get to swim together on the same relay,” Zeller said. “The girls are good friends and were really aiming for that school record.”
Junior Francis Giganti was second in the diving competition. She was just three points behind winner Kat Friese, a sophomore at MICDS.
“Fran is such a talented diver,” Zeller said. “Her first dive of the meet was not her best performance and she was having to play catch up from that point on. She has improved every year at state. Next year, I know she will be gunning for first.”
Parkway West’s 400 free relay was second with a time of 3.34.89. The team had a better time in the preliminaries at 3:34.57, which just missed breaking the school record by two-tenths of a second.
“Carolyn Kammeyer lead off with a personal best time, Caroline Bias, (senior) Ashley Robinson and Kristen Petersen all split their best times for the season,” Zeller said. “They had a great race and made it a very exciting end to the meet. They just missed the school record.”
Kammeyer medaled in all four of her events as a freshman. In addition to the relays, Kammeyer was sixth in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 butterfly, just missing the school record.
The Longhorns will have three seniors on the team graduating.
“We will hopefully have the rest of the squad back with eight returning from the state meet,” Zeller said.
Most of her girls on the state team are also club swimmers.
“I know that they will be back to club swimming,” Zeller said. “Others will play water polo or join the track team to keep in shape.”
Ending on such a high note has left Zeller anxious for next season.
“High school swimming is such a great experience. There is no other meet like it where you get to represent your school and make a name for yourself,” Zeller said. “I am so proud of the girls on this team and what they accomplished this season. I can not wait to see what we can do next year.”