ST. PETERS, Mo. — A pair of freshmen provided a glimpse of a bright future for Platte County.
Shannon Banark and Maddie Klippenstein earned honorable mention all-state honors for their performance this past weekend in the 43rd Annual Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
Banark set a new school record in her ninth-place showing in the 200-yard individual medley, swimming 2 minutes, 12.75 seconds. She shaved nearly three seconds off her preliminary time and moved up a spot from her 10th place seeding going into the race.
She won the race easily and her time, had it been in the finals, would’ve been the seventh best.
“The prelim was not the best,” Banark said. “The next day, I didn’t care where I placed, I just wanted a good time.”
Her time bested her school record she set in her debut meet by more than six seconds.
Her fastest lap was her first but her second fastest was her last, which was nearly eight seconds faster than her third lap.
“I don’t think I’ve had a freshman place this high in my career,” said Platte County coach Marnie Jenkins, who previously coached at St. Joseph Central. “It is pretty exciting. She has a lot of opportunities left, so who knows. I’m sure there will be more medals to come.”
In the previous single-class system, the Pirates had only two swimmers earn all-state honors: Stephanie Jacobsen in 2002 and Rachel Valentine in 2016.
Banark noted her goal next year is to keep improving and get on the medal stand. Her preparation for next season starts after a one-week break, and then she will get back in the pool for her club team, KC Blue Wave.
Klippenstein took 15th in the consolation finals of the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:12.76. She entered 16th after prelims.
“It was my first time at such a big meet,” the freshman said. “Before the race they call our name and we are representing the Platte County School District. That is such a big honor. It makes you want to swim faster.”
Jenkins called the showing a surprise not from the standing point, but that Klippenstein had been battling the flu and missed the conference meet.
Klippenstein had only one race from the time she got sick to state and her time had dropped by about five seconds.
“She came back as strong as ever,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes the pressure at state gets to freshmen and they crack. But, she was bound and determined to do it.”
In addition to three freshmen that competed for the Pirates, the two alternates the team took to state were freshmen — Emilia Wisniewski and Sage Nichols.
The Pirates had five other events at the tournament, including three relays.
The 200-yard medley relay team of senior Bailey Newell, Klippenstein, sophomore Lindsey Swindler and freshman Natalie Wolbert.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Newell, senior Riley Schmidt, Wolbert and Banark took 21st (1:48.73) and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Wolbert, Schmidt, Swindler and Banark took 29th (4:05.33).
Banark had the only other individual swimming event, taking 28th in the 50 freestyle.
On Friday, Abby Newman competed in the diving event for the Pirates and placed 28th with 128.95 points.
Platte County finished with 11 points and in 32nd place in Class 1 — the first year MSHSAA had two different classifications for the sport.
“There were a lot of ups and downs, but we ended on a great note,” Jenkins said. “We have a lot of freshmen and they are excited to go back.”