After a hard winter and missed practices and meets, Frankfort’s swim teams will enter the final stage of the season with high expectations at the Region 3 swimming championships Friday and Saturday at the Russell County Natatorium in Russell Springs.
The meet will kick off Friday at 12:30 p.m. with preliminary swims, and the top 12 swimmers in each event will return Saturday for the finals.
The top two swimmers in each event final will advance to the state meet at the University of Louisville Ralph Wright Natatorium Feb. 28-March 1. The top two finishers from each swimming region in Kentucky make up 10 automatic bids to the state meet, and the next 14 fastest times from the state at-large will round out the state meet competitors.
Frankfort’s local schools are sending several athletes who have an excellent opportunity to swim in Saturday’s finals and move on to Louisville.
Sydney Sell is the returning record holder in the 100-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke in Region 3. She won both events last year and moved on to the state meet where she finished fifth in the 100 freestyle and third in the 100 backstroke. She will be swimming those same events this year.
Kendall Stiens finished third in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breaststroke last year. She will swim the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke this year.
Austin Tucker, who joined the high school swim team as a freshman, has improved significantly each year. Last year he finished 13th in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free, and he will swim those same two events this year. He will swim in college next year at Campbellsville University.
Jacob Silvernail finished 12th in the 100 butterfly and 10th in the 100 backstroke and will swim those events again this year.
Katherine Caldwell finshed eighth in the 100 butterfly and 12th in the 500 freestyle. She will swim the 200 free and the 500 free this year.
Emma Silvernail finished 13th in the 200 freestyle and 19th in the 500 freestyle and will swim those same two events this year.
Dove DeNigris finished sixth in the 200 IM and ninth in the 100 backstroke, and this year she will swim the same events.
Also swimming in this year’s regional meet and finishing their high school swimming careers are seniors Melissa Martin and Hayley Webber. Martin did not swim last year because of a shoulder injury, and she will swim the 50 free and 100 breaststroke. Webber will swim the 100 free and the 100 backstroke in this year’s meet.
In addition to swimming individual events, Western Hills girls hope to see relays finish well in the regional meet.
Charlie Starzman did not swim in last year’s regional meet because of a conflict with all-state choir. There is no conflict this year, and Starzman will be a favorite to move on to the state meet in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
Ben Bryan finished fifth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 breaststroke. This year he will swim the 100 breaststroke and the 500 freestyle.
Logan Ruebens was 14th in the 500 freestyle last year, and he will swim the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle this year.
Joining Starzman, Bryan and Ruebens on relay teams for Franklin County will be John Eric Santeramo, Nick Lewis and Aidan Adkins. These boys should be strong contenders for the top spots in the regional meet and have a great chance to swim again at the state meet.
Frankfort High will be sending four swimmers to the Region 3 meet — Nick Hoffmann, Sydney Bowen, Katie Coyle and Claire Stapleton.