Platte County, Park Hill swimming 2nd at conference meets

Platte County didn’t have the firepower to catch Kearney, but the Pirates turned in a slew of season-best times in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships.

Kearney ran away with the team title, totaling 591 points over the weekend at Henley Aquatic Center in Independence, Mo. Platte County was second in the five-team field with 470, didn’t have any individual championships and didn’t have any new automatic qualifying times for the Class 1 Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships.

The weekend still went down as a big success for Platte County’s postseason hopes.

Caden DeLay finished second in both the 100-yard breaststroke and 50 freestyle. Platte County’s senior star bettered his own school record in the 100 breaststroke, lowering the mark from 1:00.76 earlier this season to 1:00.50 in the preliminaries.

In the final, DeLay finished second in 1:00.13 to set the school record again while finishing behind Kearney’s Grant Sloan.

DeLay went 22.42 in the 50 freestyle final to again finish second to Sloan. DeLay continues to chase the school record of 22.22 Chad Stephenson set back in 2005.

In addition to DeLay’s runner-up showings, all three Platte County relays finished second to Kearney but posted season-best times. The 200 medley team of DeLay, junior Alex Beall, senior Jerry Orozco and sophomore Joe Ragone set a school record and bettered the existing automatic qualifying cut in the final at 1:42.37, moving to No. 4 in Class 1 entering the postseason.

Platte County’s 200 freestyle (12th) and 400 freestyle (16th) relays continue to rank high enough with consideration cuts to almost assuredly qualify for state. Any event without 32 automatic qualifiers will use consideration entries to fill the field.

Beall also came in second in the 100 backstroke and lowered his season-best and automatic qualifying time to 56.66 — now ranked No. 10 in Class 1. Orozco (51.63) and Beall (51.97) placed second and third in the 100 freestyle with season-best times.

Both rank just outside the top 32 but could still better those marks in a “last chance meet” scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24 or earn a state spot if swimmers ranked ahead opt to compete in other events with each individual limited to just two state events.

Results of Tuesday’s meet were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.

Baxter Stone (third, 200 freestyle, 2:01.02), Isaac Cook (third, 1-meter diving, 262.05) and Luke Hodson (fourth, 500 freestyle, 5:56.00) also posted season-bests for Platte County. Cook currently ranks No. 23 on the diving list and could also be a state qualifier despite not having an automatic score this season.

Platte County’s automatic qualifier list sat at DeLay (100 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly), Beall (100 backstroke) and 200 medley relay entering Tuesday. DeLay has set school records in the 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly this season.

Now a three-time individual state qualifier, DeLay is one of only two swimmers in Platte County history to earn a state medal (16th in 100 breaststroke last season). He was also a part of the last Pirates relay to reach state (200 medley in 2015).

Suburban Conference Gold Division Championships

Park Hill posted four new automatic Class 2 state cuts in a second straight strong showing in a big meet.

Lee’s Summit North won the team title at Henley Aquatic Center with 360½ points, while Park Hill followed close behind with 327. The Trojans didn’t have any individual champions but again showed depth in multiple events, including three in the top eight of the 500 freestyle.

Jordan Timmerman, Zack O’Conor and Nick Dieffenbach turned in the biggest days for Park Hill.

Already a qualifier in the 100 freestyle, Timmerman hit the mark in the 50 freestyle preliminaries (22.83) before finishing seventh in the final. Nick Dieffenbach actually grabbed the Trojans’ best placement in the event with matching 22.92 times in the prelims and finals — good enough for fourth but still just an agonizing couple hundredths of a second off a state time.

O’Conor earned his 50 freestyle state cut as the opening leg of Park Hill’s third place 200 freestyle relay. He went 22.68 in the preliminaries and then helped the Trojans’ lower their time in the event to a season-best 1:30.55 in the finals.

Park Hill’s team of O’Conor, Hunter Dieffenbach, Nick Dieffenbach and Timmerman were third in both the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays.

Other state cuts for Park Hill came from Alex Dunlevy in the 200 freestyle (fifth, 1:51.32 in prelims) and Nick Dieffenbach in the 100 butterfly (sixth, 55.95 in finals). Nick Dieffenbach previously qualified in the 100 freestyle.

Timmerman came in third in the 100 freestyle with a season-best time of 49.89 in the finals, while O’Conor was third in the 200 individual medley after setting a season-best of 2:03.67 in prelims. O’Conor also lowered his season-best in the 100 breaststroke to 1:02.81, which ranks 14th in Class 2 and is the only individual time in the top 16 for Park Hill.

Park Hill has now posted nine automatic state cuts in its last two major meets — five earlier in the month at the KC Classic and four at conference. Dunlevy (500 freestyle), Jacob Fickenscher (500 freestyle), Sam Duesterhaus (500 freestyle) and Mark Foster (1-meter diving) were the others to already hit marks.