ST. PETERS — Starting the era of two-class swimming, the Borgia Knights advanced three of its five Class 1 entries to the final day of action Thursday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
All three of Borgia’s entries which qualified for Friday morning’s final day of the MSHSAA Class 1 event will compete in the consolation races. The second day’s competition took place as the Weekend Missourian was being produced.
“I am so excited,” Borgia Head Coach Jennifer Alferman-Molitor said. “I didn’t know really what to expect and they got better times and places. They’ve gone above my expectations.”
Robert Halsted narrowly missed making the championship race in the 100 freestyle, placing ninth in the preliminary qualifying race with a time of 49.20. He improved his qualifying time by .31 of a second. He was fourth in his heat.
Halsted entered the event seeded 11th.
Webb City’s Seth Jensen was the final qualifier for the championship race at 49.04. The fastest qualifier was Cape Central’s Jacob Bening in 46.85.
It took a time of 50.91 to make the consolation race and a time of 51.33 to be considered as an alternate.
Andrew Simily qualified for the consolation race in the 100 butterfly, Borgia’s most successful event in program history.
Simily was 12th in the preliminary heat at a time of 55.49, an improvement of .51 of a second from his qualification time. He had been seeded 15th coming into the day.
A time of 54.99 was required to make the championship race. The cutoff for the consolation heat was 56.69 and a 56.94 was required to make the alternate list.
Michael Matthews was a two-time state medalist during the program’s first two years of competition.
Borgia’s 400 freestyle relay team of Van Deven, Halsted, Drew Smith and Simily won its heat in 3:30.36, to place 14th in the preliminary races and qualify for the consolation race Friday.
The team cut 11.7 seconds off of its qualifying time. The Knights had been seeded 30th of 32 teams coming into the first day.
“They told me they were going for a 3:30, about 12 seconds faster, and I didn’t believe them,” Alferman-Molitor said. “I told them to just go for it and they did. I was floored. They were in the first heat and they ended up 14th. If they can do tomorrow what they did today, that would be a huge highlight to end the season.”
Alferman-Molitor said there was some inspiration to improve as conference rival Lutheran St. Charles/O’Fallon Christian was in the next lane.
“There were a couple of teams in their heat they wanted to beat and they had lost to a couple of times this season,” she said. “They really wanted to beat them. They definitely thrived under pressure and with someone in the corner of their eyes pushing them. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.”
A time of 3:24.11 was required to make the championship race. Kearney had the fastest preliminary time at 3:13.36.
Borgia’s alternates were Shelby, Cole Fletcher, VanBooven and Noah Little.
One team and one individual ended the season at Thursday’s session.
Borgia’s 200 medley relay team opened the meet with a 19th-place finish, one spot out of the alternate positions for Friday’s final round.
Swimming for Borgia were Jeffrey Van Deven, Colton Lewis, Simily and Halsted. The team turned in a time of 1:47.70, an improvement of 2.67 from the 1:50.37 qualification time.
A time of 1:45.71 was needed to make the consolation race. The championship race cutoff was 1:42.91.
Borgia’s alternates were Derek VanBooven, Alex Kriete, Kyler Shelby and Ryan Kluesner.
Halsted finished 22nd in the 50 freestyle in a time of 23.08. That was an improvement of 0.10 of a second from his qualification time.
A time of 22.89 was required to make the alternate spots. A time of 22.84 got into the consolation heat and 22.36 was required for the championship race.
Alferman-Molitor is for the new two-class format.
“I love it,” she said. “No. 1, the pool deck is not nearly as crowded as it has been in the past. It gives us small schools a better chance to go to the state meet and succeed... I want to come back next year with a whole team ready to win.”