Local girls take first in state at 38th swimming and diving championship
By: Warren Mayes
MICDS sophomore Kat Friese is single-minded when it comes to diving at the annual state meet.
“My only expectation this year going to into state was to win,” Friese said. “My only expectation last year going into state was to win.”
That didn’t happen in 2012. Friese led in the semifinals but couldn’t hold it. She finished third behind eventual champion Marissa Green, of Fort Zumwalt West.
This year at the 38th annual Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Friese won it all. Each girl had 11 dives in the meet.
Friese finished with 419.75 points to get past Parkway West junior Francesca Giganti, who wound up with 416.50 points. The girls are friends. Friese and Giganti dive together for the St. Louis Diving Club.
“I expected great things from Kat, as she is an experienced diver and was third at state last year as a freshman,” MICDS coach Kristen Kaiser said.
MICDS dive coach Lauren Brunner agreed.
“Like many of the other divers in the state meet, Kat is a great competitor,” Brunner said. “Performing her best at state was her goal, and she did just that. She is quite the competitor.”
“One of the strongest characteristics of Kat’s diving is her consistency,” Brunner said. “She’s been diving for a long time and was able to count on every single one of her dives to carry her through the meet. Some of her best dives were her 303c reverse 1-1/2 tuck, her 203b back 1-1/2 pike, as well as her voluntary dives.”
Putting together the dives is important, Friese said.
“For me, I like to keep everything spread out but I’m more concerned about the final two rounds, which is why I put my strongest and best easy dive and hard dive in those last two rounds,” Friese said. “Not because I’m packing my list to guarantee a victory but because I want to finish strong.”
With a strong finish, Friese said the state championship was hers.
“I knew that I won state when I entered the water on my last dive,” Friese said. “I came out of the water and just knew that I hit that dive as wonderfully as I could have and it felt great. I know of a lot of previous winners and to think that my name is under a list of state champions is really exciting.”
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For Parkway North swimmer Heather Lundstrom the annual championship proved to be another state meet, another state record.
The senior set the record in the 500 freestyle at the annual championship. Swimming in the event for the first time, Lundstrom finished with a time of 4 minutes, 55.53 seconds. The record was set in 2009 by Eleanor Prewitt-Thomas, of Blue Springs, who swam it in 4:55.65.
That feat did not surprise Parkway North coach Bart Prosser.
“Every time she gets in the water, I can always expect her best but what she did at state is pretty impressive,” Prosser said. “To win the 100 fly, almost breaking her own record, then about 20 minutes later racing again and breaking a state record is pretty impressive. I am not sure too many athletes at state could have done that.”
Why swim the 500 free when she was the defending state champ in the 200 IM?
Like most athletes, Lundstrom challenged herself. It was there.
“I wanted to do the 500 because I thought I would be cool to beat the record,” Lundstrom said. “(Coach) Prosser and I decided on it the day after the (Suburban South) conference meet where I swam the 500 and 200 IM. He left it up to me mostly, but we both agreed that the 500 would be a good race.”
Lundstrom also was the defending two-time state champ in the 100 butterfly. She set the state record in that event last year at 54.51. This year time was 54.57.
After winning the 100 butterfly, there was a small celebration.
“A lot of my teammates are my closest friends so they were all really excited and happy for me,” Lundstrom said. “After the race, for me, I was focused on the 500 then because it was coming up soon.”
She went out fast in the race to begin. Her top competitor, Kelley Tackett of Rock Bridge, had won the 200 freestyle earlier in the meet.
“I knew Kelley had a fast 200 free,” Lundstrom said. “The last length I saw her coming up so I sprinted home, probably the reason for breaking the record.”
Needless to say, Lundstrom was happy to be the new recordholder in the 500 free.
“It’s always a cool achievement knowing you were the fastest swimmer in that event ever in Missouri high school history,” Lundstrom said.