Platte County taking 6 to state swimming finals

Platte County will look to thrive in the first edition of a multi-class Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships set for this weekend at the St. Peters Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo.

The Pirates, a Class 1 school will no longer compete against all of the large Kansas City and St. Louis metro school which dominated the podium over the years.

The Pirates had just two swimmers receive honorable mention all-state honors in the single class system — given to the top 16 finishers in each event — Stephanie Jacobsen in 2002 and Rachel Valentine in 2016.

Freshman Shannon Banark headlines the Pirates six entries into the Class 1 Swimming and Diving Championships. She comes into her first state event ranked No. 6 in the 50-yard freestyle and No. 4 in the 200 Individual Medley. Freshman Maddie Klippenstein is the other individual entry, coming in ranked No. 23 in the 100-yard breaststroke. The other three Platte County entries are the three relay events, 200 freestyle, 200 medley and 400 freestyle. The Pirates are ranked No. 18 in the 200 free relay, needing to pass two teams to reach the consolation finals and No. 19 in the 400 freestyle. Platte County is
No. 22 on the list of schools who qualified for the 200 medley relay.

In the newly formed Class 2, Park Hill South will look to earn another team trophy after breaking a three-year string of third-place finishes with a fifth-place showing a year ago.

The Panthers come in with four individuals and two relays ranked in the top eight. Kansas swimming signee senior Paige Riekhof is ranked No. 3 in the 200 yard freestyle and No. 5 in the 100 yard butterfly. Junior Georgia Clark enters as the No. 2 ranked swimmer in the 100 backstroke and No. 7 in the 200 individual medley. All three of the relay teams for Park Hill South made the cut with the 200 medley relay team entering as the No. 7 seed and the 200 freestyle group coming in at No. 8. In addition to the favorites to compete for points Park Hill South has Abbie Day (No. 24 in both the 200 and 500 freestyle rankings), Emma Clark (No. 26 in the 200 IM rankings and No. 22 in the 100 backstroke list), Christine Hwang (No. 22 in the 50 freestyle), Nadya McCullough (No. 25 in the 50 freestyle and No. 29 in the 100 freestyle), Sophie Jager (No. 31 in the 50 freestyle and No. 32 in the 100 freestyle), Peyton Wiewel (No. 21 in the 100 backstroke rankings) and Taylor Young (No. 17 in 1 meter diving).

Park Hill will be led by senior Nani Welsh who comes in ranked No. 3 in the 100 freestyle and No. 8 in the 50 freestyle. Abigail Culp comes in at No. 15 in the rankings in the 500 freestyle and Ariana Wharton-Walker enters state on the cusp of all-state qualification coming in at No. 17 in the 50 freestyle rankings. Culp is also ranked No. 26 in the 200 freestyle.

Sophomore Emma Will (No. 25 100 backstroke, and No. 26 100 butterfly) and freshman Emily Fickenscher (No. 23 100 butterfly) round out the individual qualifiers to go along with the Trojans three relays and No. 5 ranked diver Jaden Galang.