Whitaker Steward earns championships in the 200 Free and 500 Free
Kearney, Mo., January 10, 2023: Kearney High School’s Boys Swim and Dive team capped an outstanding season by finishing 14th out of 57 teams at the 2023 Missouri State High School Activities Association on Nov. 9-10 in St. Louis.
There were superb performances across the board by all seven Bulldogs who earned spots at state, according to Head Coach Trevor Woehrman. Meet highlights included the fact that KHS was the only team from the Kansas City region that had more than one relay make it back to the finals on Friday, plus Whitaker Steward’s two individual championships.
“What a way to end the season,” Coach Woehrman said. “We are so proud of all of these boys and the growth they’ve shown both in and out of the pool is tremendous.”
200 Medley Relay
These Bulldogs finished in 32nd place. Each of them had lifetime-best splits in their legs of the relay.
During preliminaries on Thursday morning, Whitaker Steward secured the top seed heading into finals with a lifetime best of 1:40.18. On Friday, he then took home the state title as he beat his lifetime best from the day before, broke the school record, and set the Class 1 record with a 1:39.11. This lightning-fast time also put him into consideration for being an All American in this event, according to Woehrman.
Competing at the state level for the first time in an individual event, Parker Bartlett swam the 200 IM and narrowly missed his lifetime best by posting a time of 2:10.40 and coming in 26th place.
Freshman Reid Salmonson also competed at the state level for the first time and posted a time of 23.18. Reid’s performance was enough for a 26th-place finish.
In his first year of diving, and the KHS Boys team’s first diver since 2017, Isaac Clayton competed at the state level. He had his best meet of the season when it mattered the most and came home in 17th place, just 6 points shy of moving on to finals.
In his second individual event, Mr. Salmonson swam just shy of his lifetime best and posted a time of 51.07 to finish in 25th place.
On Thursday during preliminaries, Mr. Steward shattered the school record by nearly two seconds and secured the top seed heading into finals with a lifetime best of 4:28.11. During finals, he again broke his own record from the day before, beat his closest competitor by nearly 10 seconds, came home with his second state title of the day – he is now a back-to-back champion of this event – and another Class 1 record with an outstanding time of 4:26.14. This performance was enough to solidify his status as an All-American.
In his second individual event, Mr. Bartlett finished very close to his lifetime best. He finished in 24th place with a time of 5:12.15.
200 Freestyle Relay
Heading into the meet, the Bulldogs were seeded to finish in 20th place in this event. They snuck into finals with the 16th seed during the prelims by dropping over a second with a time of 1:34.29. During finals on Friday, they dropped over a second again with a time of 1:32.94 to move into 13th place.
400 Freestyle Relay
The Bulldogs again earned a spot in the finals by securing the 16th seed in preliminaries with a 3:26.67. During finals on Friday, they dropped 2.5 seconds and moved up several spots to finish in 13th place.