Lincoln, NE. NEBRASKA may have killed off its men's college swimming program but high school swimming is alive and well. Omaha Marian's ladies and Omaha Creighton Prep's boys didn't miss a beat while defending their respective state championships at the University of Nebraska's Bob Devaney Aquatics Center.
OCP ran its state-title streak to six-straight while Marian's ladies won their second-consecutive crown and third in the last four years.
OMA started off the final session in expeditious fashion, racing to a state-record 1:47.89 in the 200 medley relay. And who was holder of the old mark? This same foursome from last year's championships (1:48.14).
The time is an automatic All-America clocking (1:48.93) while second-place Millard North (1:49.72) makes the consideration cut.
Senior Katie Eckholt was Marian's "Big Gun," scoring a pair of wins in the 50-100 frees (23.20-50.49). Her 50 free swim was a state record, breaking the old mark of 23.57 set by Amy Tidball from 1987! In the 100 her 50.43 in the prelims was a second state standard, topping her old mark of 51.15 from last season.
Teammate Lisa Hansen also contributed via a win in the 200 free and led off her school's state record-setting 400 sprint relay (3:32.43) with a 54.64 split. The winning time surpassed the old record of 3:34.90 from 1986 and also is under the All-America auto cut of 3:34.14.
Millard West 10th-grader Bailey Ingles scored a double via wins in the 200 IM (AA consideration 2:08.10) and the 100 back (58.47 — also a consideration cut). The state record is 56.88 by former Louisiana State All-America Ali Peterson.
A precocious ninth-grader from Millard North, Jessie Bailis, showed her heels to the field in the 100 breast with her state-record 1:03.90 — an auto All-America swim.
Melissa Fry, an 11th-grader from Millard South, won the 100 fly (59.71 with a pr 59.42 in the heats); then came back to take runner-up honors in the 100 back.
Millard West senior Nichole Real was fastest in the 500 free (5:11.79) while in the 200 sprint relay it was her school winning in a AA consideration 1:37.89. Real anchored the winning squad.
On the boys' side, Omaha Creighton Prep used its superior depth to win the title for the sixth-consecutive season. OCP won only two events, the 200 medley relay in an All-America consideration 1:38.57, and the 200 free relay (consideration 1:27.05).
The meet featured several doublers, among them Papillion 10th-grader Daniel Berve in the 200-500 frees (1:44.70-4:50.91); Grand Island's Scott Usher in the 200 IM-100 breast (1:57.81-57.97); and Beatrice's Adam Monia in the 100 free (46.87) and 100 back (51.78).
Other winners included Papillion's Chris Scheuber in the 50 free (21.44) with OCP's Kyle Dunlap-William Selde next in 21.61-21.71; and Travis Stensby (Bellevue West) in the 100 fly (51.11) — who also was a member of his school's winning 400 sprint relay squad that clocked an AA consideration 3:16.08.
– Bill Bell