Divers lead the way in state prelims

By Daniel Davidson, Sports Editor

Girls dress up the Chesty Lion in a swimsuit, an annual tradition before state.

TOPEKA — After an undefeated season and Sunflower League victory, girls swimming and diving has begun state off on the right foot.


Beth Brandt and Eden Kingery finished 10th and 13th respectively in girls diving preliminaries this Thursday at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.


“We want to get points everywhere we can,” coach Kent McDonald said. “We don’t know what the final score is going to be like. It could be down to one point.”


Brandt recognized this when she switched to diving only a month ago.


“She realized she could help the team by diving,” McDonald said. “She’s already got more than 11 dives, and they are good enough to place at state. It’s just really incredible.”


Both Brandt and Kingery, who has already placed the last three years at state, owe much of their diving ability to their gymnastics background.


“Having that background helps a lot with diving,” Kingery said. “Being able to do flips and stuff.”


As the girls look forward to semifinals, their main competitors, Blue Valley West and Shawnee Mission East, only move forward with one diver each.


“Having an early win to keep the team going is critical,” McDonald said. “It’s a great start that I hope motivates them.”


The two advance to semifinals alongside the swimming team whose prelims begin today. The top 16 of each event will continue to tomorrow’s finals.