If there were any doubt about it heading into the girls 6A swim and dive championships Saturday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka, the Lancers put it to rest: SM East has the strongest high school swim and dive program in the state.
Though SM East only took first place in a one individual event, the team’s consistently strong performances across two days of competition were enough to land the Lancers an unprecedented fifth consecutive 6A title. In fact, since the KSHSAA split up the 6A and 5-1A divisions into separate state meets in 2010, no other team has held the girls 6A title.
SM East sophomore Bonnie Longan came into the 100 backstroke finals as an underdog to top-seed Olivia Tran of Wichita East, but trimmed a full two seconds off her preliminary time for a win at 56.91. SM East’s 200 medley team of Longan, fellow sophomore Sarah Allegri, and seniors Annie Mann and Madeline Peters won their event as well.
Lawrence Free State finished second in the 6A team points race.
With another title in the bag, the question becomes whether SM East’s team can chase the record for most consecutive Kansas girls state titles: seven in a row…set by the SM East Lancers from 1977 to 1983.