Marshall swimmers shut out at state
ST. PETERS -- The first appearance at the MSHSAA Championships was an instructive, if not entirely happy, one for the Marshall girls' swimming team.
The Lady Owls didn't make it past the Friday preliminaries, with none of their three entries matching the best times posted this season. That wasn't going to produce any medals on a fast weekend at the St. Peters Rec-Plex, in which six state records would be set.
Marshall actually got off to a solid start, with junior Rachel Keller having a strong first leg in the 200-yard medley relay -- her 30.45-second split being among the top 20 recorded. The Lady Owls' quartet -- which also included freshman Maddy Keller and sophomores Laura Musick and Rachel Willis -- finished 36th (2:03.73) out of a field of 49.
Although that was .58 seconds slower than Marshall's seeded time, set two weeks earlier at the Independent League Championships, it was faster than 12 opponents who had qualified with better times. In other words, the Lady Owls wound up 12 places higher than they were seeded, an encouraging sign.
The same combo -- in precisely the reverse order -- was 42nd out of 47 in the 200 freestyle relay (1:49.90), 1.67 seconds off its top mark. That was eight places below their seed, although Rachel Keller again turned in a good split, a 26.76 in the anchor leg.
Musick, Marshall's lone solo event entry, was seeded 19th in the 100 butterfly. However, she didn't get off to a great start -- 30.32, 36th overall -- but rallied over the final 50 yards to finish 29th (1:04.00), 1.45 seconds off her personal record.
Blue Springs was dominant in defending its state title, the Lady Wildcats' 325 points -- thanks to victories in all three relays -- a distant lead over the 206 of Lafayette of St. Louis County.
The best aspect of the meet for the Lady Owls was the experience they gained during their inaugural campaign, all four qualifiers being underclassmen. They, some other team members who showed promise and a few up-and-coming young swimmers who should soon join the club, make the future of the Marshall girls' program a bright one.