ST. PETERS, Mo. — Shannon Banark came close to earning all-state honors last year in her debut at the MSHSAA Swimming & Diving Championship.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, the Platte County sophomore accomplished that feat by taking fifth place in the Class 1 50-yard freestyle event.
She also competed in two relays and added a top-10 finish in the 100-yard butterfly to wrap up a banner weekend at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
Platte County took 23rd overall with 30 points, a jump from 32nd place and 11 points in the first year of MSHSAA’s two-class system.
Marnie Jenkins’ squad qualified the 200-yard medley and Maddie Klippenstein (breaststroke) in the consolation finals.
Banark finished the 50 freestyle in 24.83 seconds, moving up from eighth after prelims (24.99) and was a little more than a second off the pace of champion Autumn Looney of St. Charles (23.71).
Banark went from 13th seeded to 10th overall in the 100 butterfly, shaving nearly a full second off of her time. In the consolation finals she finished in 1:00.66, now her third-best finish at state.
Last year in the 200-yard IM, she took ninth overall winning the consolation finals, but still one place off the all-state medal stand. Banark is a year-round swimmer and will start competing for Blue Wave soon.
Klippenstein took 15th place in the 100-yard breaststroke last year, but moved up to 12th this season.
A multi-sport athlete at Platte County — she also participates in soccer, cross country and track and field — had a time of 1:11.20 in the consolation finals, in the same spot in the standings as she sat after prelims. She was 1/100th of a second behind Allison McDonald of Cape Girardeau Central after prelims.
“She is such a well-rounded athlete,” Jenkins said. “She was talking to the people in the finals, she was the only one that didn’t swim year round. For her to be a natural athlete and do that, that is pretty cool. We just need to fix a few things and she needs to get a little stronger. She is almost there … she will be all-state next year.”
The 200-yard medley relay team of Banark, Klippenstein, junior Lindsey Swindler and freshman Meredith Ballou took 15th place with a time of 1:58.63, moving up one spot from prelims.
Swindler, sophomore Natalie Wolbert, Klippenstein and Banark swam 1:48.12 in the 200-yard freestyle relay and finished 23rd overall.
The team of Ballou and sophomores Sage Nicholas, Wolbert and Emilia Wisniewski took 28th in the 400 freestyle relay.
“This is the second time we made a relay for consolation final, it was a big deal to come back and do that,” Jenkins said. “We scored 11 points and this year, 30, so maybe we will double it again. We are super young. We have one junior and rest sophomores and a freshman.”