Competing in the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Girls Swimming Championships Monday and Tuesday, the St. Francis Borgia Regional Lady Knights brought home third place.
“This was a breakout meet for so many of the girls, a perfect way to end the season,” Borgia Head Coach Diane Jones said.
Borgia scored 213 points to finish behind the Lutheran St. Charles-O’Fallon Christian combined team (289 points) and Rosati-Kain (244).
Borgia was in front of St. Dominic (125), Notre Dame (114), Duchesne (102), Trinity (99) and Bishop DuBourg (74).
Preliminary qualifying took place at McCluer South-Berkeley High School Monday with the championship and consolation races Tuesday.
Borgia won two races, both by the same swimmer.
Isabella Rio captured the 200 freestyle title in 2:10.76 and also won the 500 freestyle in 5:43.84.
“Isabel Rio saved her best for last,” Jones said. “She was a body length behind drafting off Kallie Nero of St. Dominic for the first 200 or so, and then she broke ahead and kept getting stronger and faster to drop 10 seconds off her time. It was a great race, as was her win in the 200 freestyle.”
Senior Evie Alferman was second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:00.46.
“Evie Alferman swam her career bests in both the 50 and 100,” Jones said. “She has been a workhorse all year round. She will graduate as one of the top 100 swimmers in the 100 freestyle in her class. The fact that she has done this without being a year-round swimmer is a tribute to the athlete and competitor she is.”
Two Borgia relay teams also placed second. The 200 medley relay team of Corinne Schroeder, Elizabeth Simily, Rio and Alferman was the runner-up with a time of 2:13.34.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Alferman, Anna Eckelkamp, Claire Birke and Rio was second in a time of 4:17.18.
Three Borgia entries finished third and Eckelkamp was the common thread in all three.
Eckelkamp placed third in the 200 individual medley in 2:48.35 and was third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:23.52.
Borgia’s 200 freestyle relay team of Simily, Diana Pfeiffer, Gabby Mattli and Eckelkamp placed third in 2:01.97.
“Anna Eckelkamp literally swam out of her mind,” Jones said. “She’s been retooling her breaststroke to a faster form, which frustrated her a bit in the middle of the season, but she stuck with it and it paid off big time at conference. There aren’t a lot of swimmers that can drop that much time and earn two individual medals, and right in the middle of it swim a sub-28 in a 200 free relay, but she did it.”
Borgia’s other swimmers competing in Tuesday’s championship meet were:
• Alferman placed fourth in the 50 freestyle in 27.71;
• Simily ended sixth in the 50 freestyle in 29.70;
• Simily also placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:30.28;
• Birke was sixth in the 500 freestyle in 7:15.56;
• Schroeder was seventh in the 100 backstroke in 1:24.27;
• Birke placed eighth in the 200 freestyle in 2:29.50;
• Schroeder was eighth in the 100 freestyle in 1:11.78;
• Schmieder placed eighth in the 500 freestyle in 7:09.46;
• Pfeiffer was 11th in the 200 freestyle in 2:43.45;
• Mattli placed 11th in the 50 freestyle in 31.71;
• Lauren Hellebusch took 11th in the 100 backstroke in 1:29.83;
• Lily Schmieder ended 12th in the 200 individual medley in 3:04.56; and
• Pfeiffer was 12th in the 100 butterfly in 1:34.96.
“Claire Birke is now a bona fide distance swimmer, setting a PR with a 7:04.03 (in the preliminary qualifying race Monday) in the 500 free,” Jones said. “Lily Schmieder was right behind her with a 7:09.46.”
Birke finished fifth in the qualifying meet while Schmieder was eighth.
It was the final meet together for the three seniors, Alferman, Pfeiffer and Emma Fogarty.
“We’ll miss our seniors,” Jones said. “But the future looks really bright. This year, Isabel goes to state. Next year, this team is determined to make sure she has company.”
Borgia has a number of swimmers who have reached consideration time for the MSHSAA Class 1 State Meet at the St. Peters Rec-Plex next Friday and Saturday.
Jones feels Rio has the best chance of making it in the 500 freestyle, where Jones reports she’s currently ranked 33rd.
Rio also made state consideration time in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, but Jones feels it’s doubtful she will get into the prelims in those events with her current times.
Alferman also reached consideration time in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, but likely is too far down the list to receive an invitation.
Likewise, Borgia reached consideration time in all three relays, the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay. Jones said the 400 freestyle relay has the best chance to make it as it’s ranked 44th.