DeLay becomes Platte County swimming's most decorated athlete at state

The largest qualifying contingent ever for Platte County left the Class 1 Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships with plenty of history in tow.

Caden DeLay, a senior, became the Pirates’ most decorated swimmer, and a record-setting group delivered five all-state or honorable mention all-state performances over the two-day competition at Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo. They totaled 61 points and finished 13th in the final team standings.

Prior to this season, Missouri hosted its state meet with one classification and before to the two-class split, Platte County only had two honorable mention all-state performers in history.

The club tripled last week with senior Jerry Orozco, junior Alex Beall and sophomores Rhett Spell and Isaac Cook joining DeLay in the record book. Platte County brought 11 events total to the meet, including all three relays.

Platte County’s 200 medley — the only automatic qualifier out of three — started both preliminaries and the finals with a highlight.

On Thursday, DeLay, Orozco, Beall and Spell were just off the school-record time they posted this season to tie for seventh and grab one of the final two spot in the championship final. The Pirates ended up eighth Friday but still became the first all-state relay in program history.

Now a three-time individual qualifier, DeLay also earned championship medals in the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle, bringing his total to three career top-16 finishes. He finished his career as the school-record holder in the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.

DeLay just missed adding a record in his first individual event at state.

Going 22.29 in the prelims of the 50 freestyle, DeLay qualified seventh but ended up sixth while swimming just slightly slower in the final (22.33). He ended up with a season-best but just .07 of a second off of the 22.22 school record mark Chad Stephenson set back in 2005.

DeLay didn’t quite approach his school record of 1:00.13 in his best event.

Already a two-time qualifier in the 100 breaststroke, DeLay made his first championship final in that event. He qualified fifth out of prelims and held that place in the finals with times of 1:00.59 and 1:00.77.

DeLay originally set the record at state as a junior when he became just the second in program history to earn a spot in a consolation final and score a team point, placing 16th.

Beall, an automatic qualifier in the 100 backstroke, became the third swimmer in Platte County history to place in an individual event. He posted a 56.66 in the preliminaries and qualified ninth — less than 0.2 out of a finals spot.

In the consolation final, Beall swam a season-best 56.62 to place 10th and join DeLay and Josh Hulett (1996) as the only top-16 individual finishers in Platte County history.

Cook, a sophomore, became the first for Platte County to compete at state in 1-meter diving. He made the semifinals and finals and ended up 12th with a score of 290.25.

Prior to this season, Platte County had only one diving state qualifier, but an entry error kept Bryce Bearden from competing in 2015.

Orozco and sophomore Baxter Stone also competed in individual events for Platte County but missed the finals. Beall was also a consideration qualifier in the 100 freestyle.

Platte County’s 200 freestyle nearly made the consolation final but ended up the second alternate with the No. 18 time out of prelims — just 0.38 out of 16th. The Pirates were seeded 15th for the event.

Park Hill South made the most out of 23 entries at the state meet and placed sixth with 119 points despite entering with just six events with top-16 qualifying times. The Panthers ended up with nine in the finals but took home eight medals after a disqualification in one event.

Jackson Garrett, a junior, earned all-state honors in all four events to lead Park Hill South’s effort.

Already a six-time medalist, Garrett made the finals in the 100 backstroke (second) and 100 freestyle (fifth). He also swam on the seventh-place 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays for the Panthers.

All three Park Hill South relays made the championship final with the 200 freestyle team of junior Isaac Lee, freshman Zach Schneider and seniors Cody Beeler and Isaac Smith placing fifth. Zander Livingston and Zane Reavley — both freshmen — plus Smith rounded out the Panthers’ 400 freestyle team, while Beeler, Lee and junior Patrick Hefferren were on the 200 freestyle team with Garrett.

In addition to being an all-state relay, Livingston placed 14th in the 200 freestyle and 11th in the 500 freestyle. Park Hill South’s Clell Burdiss — another freshman — came in 14th in the 500 freestyle.

Smith made the consolation final of the 100 freestyle with the No. 16 qualifying time but didn’t medal due todisqualification.

Park Hill South finished 14th in the final one-class state meet a year ago and just missed its first state trophy since 2011 (fourth). Smith and Beeler were the only two senior state qualifiers for the Panthers.