GLADSTONE, Mo. — Platte County’s push to finish the season on a positive note didn’t end with a runner-up showing in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships. For the second straight year, the Pirates were runners-up to Kearney in the final team standings, but a talented senior group continued to show off its progression.
Platte County swimmers littered the finals Saturday, Feb. 4 at Gladstone Community Center.
With victories from senior Rachel Valentine in the 100-yard breaststroke and Skyelar Perkins in 1-meter diving, Platte County piled up 463 points and finished 107 behind the Bulldogs’ winning total. The Pirates were looking to win the Blue Division crown for the second time in three years but came up short.
“We had every girl qualify to come back for the finals and that’s never happened before,” Platte County coach Kenna Sampsell said. “We have girls in the final heat for every event but one, but I feel like they’ve all cut time today so they’re meeting our expectations.”
Platte County remained stuck on three events qualified for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships despite the strong showing.
Valentine headed up a 1-2-3 finish for Platte County in the 100 breaststroke, which continued to be the Pirates’ top event. She finished in 1 minute, 10.12 seconds to beat teammate Hannah Havemeier by more than a second (1:11.15).
Havemeier posted the top preliminary time the previous day but wound up second, just in front of senior teammate Olivia Forrester (1:14.08). The podium sweep resulted in 53 points for Platte County.
Valentine and Havemeier already posted state times in the event earlier in the season, while Forrester continued to close in on a qualifying cut. She will compete in a last chance meet Saturday, Feb. 11 back at Gladstone Community Center with another chance to book a return individual trip.
Platte County also scored big points with runner-up showings in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, while coming in third in the 400 freestyle relay. Only the Pirates’ medley relay of Valentine, Havemeier, Bailey Newll and Hailee Baer qualified for state this season, marking the third straight year to send that event on to state.
Havemeier, who earlier this season set school records in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, also posted a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:03.51), while Baer was second in the 500 freestyle (5:55.09). Newell rounded out the runner-up finishes in the 100 backstroke (1:06.91).
In other events, Baer took second in the 500 freestyle and Newell took second in the 100 backstroke.
Platte County’s only other victory came Thursday night in the diving competition.
Perkins improved the school record she's held for three years for an 11-dive event and came up just short of a state qualifying score. Her 372.4 won the Blue Division title, less than eight points away from a state mark.
Platte County went 1-3-4 in the diving competition. Perkins also plans to compete at the last chance meet, along with Forrester (100 breaststroke) and Valentine (100 butterfly).
Platte County’s senior class rewrote the record book the past four years along with winning the 2015 Blue Division title.
Last season, Havemeier, Valentine and Forrester all competed at state in the 100 breaststroke. Valentine posted the 14th best preliminary time in the event with a school record time to become the first Platte County swimmer to reach the consolation final of an event since Stephanie Jacobsen in 2002.
Valentine placed 16th and scored one point, and with three events or six, the Pirates hope to do even better this year.
“We had the four girls who qualified for state so we’re looking forward to making it to the second day at state (like Valentine did last year). That’s our goal,” Sampsell said.