Springfield Success for the Swim and Dive Team

The 200 meter freestyle relay team earned an automatic State qualifying time


Freshman Grace Townsend, sophomore Kate Conway, junior Oliva Townsend and Senior Katie DeLong qualified for the State meet Jan. 26 with their freestyle relay.

Molly Conway, Print Managing Editor

The 200-meter freestyle relay team swam a State qualifying time of 1:44.30 at the Springfield Invitational at Springfield Natatorium Jan. 26.

“It was super exciting to finally get the State cut because we have been working really hard all season so we were beyond excited to get it,” sophomore Kate Conway said. “We were super nervous beforehand because we only had two more chances to get it, but we had an intense dance party before we got on the blocks which calmed our nerves.”

Senior Katie DeLong started the relay and was followed by Conway, freshman Grace Townsend and junior Olivia Townsend who finished the relay. DeLong, Conway, Townsend and Olivia Townsend all swam 50 freestyle meters in the relay to make it below the State cut.

“Not only am I super excited that we finally got the state cut, but also because it was so much fun to be able to experience qualifying with my sister on the same relay,” Olivia said.

Swimming has always been a big part of the Townsend family’s life and so it was truly special for the sisters to be able to qualify together, according to Olivia. The Townsend sisters have been swimming together for 11 years at Blue Hills Country Club through the Country Club Swim Association of Kansas City. Although they have enjoyed swimming in the same organization and cheering each other on through CCSAKC swim, this is the first time they have been able to swim on the same relay as age groups usually divide them up in the summer.

“Swimming has been a big staple in our family since we have been able to walk so being able to experience that same genuine joy with Grace makes this relay super special to me,” Olivia said. “I remember how good I felt qualifying when I was a freshman and I can’t wait for her to experience it for herself.”

Heading into the Springfield Invitational, the fastest time the relay team had swum was 1:48.03. The automatic state cut time is 1:45.99, meaning they needed to drop over two seconds to be guaranteed a spot in the State meet. 

“I was really proud of the girls for having a good swim and dropping a lot of time in the 200-meter freestyle relay and the 400-meter freestyle relay was just hundredths away from making the automatic State cut as well,” Head Coach Kelly Timson said. “Overall I think the meet went really well and I’m excited to see what the girls can do at State.”

Between the 200-meter freestyle relay’s state qualifying time and second place finish and junior Caroline Knopke’s first-place finish in the dive meet, the swim and dive team placed 5th overall and the meet was a huge success, according to Timson.

“Winning this meet in Springfield was an awesome experience because it was the first big meet I’ve won this season I also received my personal best score which made me really excited,” Knopke said. “It was awesome having my teammates cheering me on as I finished the meet.”