Local swimmers gear up for state meet

By Linda Younkin Published:

There will be three veterans and three newcomers from Frankfort at the KHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend.

Western Hills’ Sydney Sell, Katherine Caldwell and Kendall Stiens have all competed at state before while WHHS’ Emma Silvernail and Franklin County’s Charlie Starzman and Ben Bryan will be making their first appearance.

The meet is Friday and Saturday at the University of Louisville’s Ralph Wright Natatorium.

Preliminary races will be Friday, with the boys races starting at 9:30 a.m. and the girls races at 3:30 p.m.

Finals will be Saturday. The boys races will begin at 10 a.m. and the girls races at 4:15 p.m.

Sell will be competing in two individual events as well as two relays with the other three WHHS swimmers.

Starzman will compete in two individual events and Bryan will compete in one event.

Sell will be competing with her WHHS teammates in the relays, but she’ll be competing against her club teammates in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard freestyle.

A junior, Sell is a member of the Lakeside Swim Team out of Louisville.
“In the 100 backstroke the No. 1 seed is on my team, and the No. 2 seed swims for Trident, which is in Louisville,” Sell said. “I swim against her all the time.”

Sell placed third in the 100 backstroke last year at state, and that’s where she’s seeded this year with a regional time of 55.91 seconds.

The No. 1 seed in the backstroke is Sacred Heart’s Asia Seidt with a time of 54.88, and the Christian Academy of Louisville’s Hannah Magnuson is seeded second with a time of 55.56.

Sell, who placed sixth at state last year in the 100-yard freestyle, is seeded fifth in that event this year with a time of 52.85.

She won both events at the Region 3 meet to qualify for state.

Starzman captured the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard breaststroke at the regional meet to advance to state.

Last year a conflict between the regional swim meet and the all-state chorus kept Starzman from swimming at regionals.

“Last year it was more a decision that I’d work really hard this year on swimming,” Starzman said, “and last year I’d work more on singing.”

Starzman, a junior, set two personal records in winning his events at the region. At state he’s seeded seventh in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.96, and he’s seeded 13th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:00.41.

“The Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before regionals I didn’t get in the pool,” Starzman said. “Surprisingly I felt really good in the water at the region.

“I definitely want to do the best I can,” he said about state. “I’m seeded seventh in the 100 breaststroke. I’m hoping I can make at least top eight in that event.”

Bryan and the two WHHS relays advanced to state with at-large bids based on their times at the regional meet.

Bryan will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Sell, Stiens, Caldwell and Silvernail will compete in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Bryan, Stiens and Caldwell are sophomores, and Silvernail is an eighth-grader.

The 200 medley relay qualified for state with a time of 2:00.08, and the 400 freestyle relay qualified with a time of 3:54.08.

“We were happy with the 400,” Caldwell said. “The medley was better the first day (of regionals) at the preliminaries, but it was still good enough.”

Weather has affected this season, with snow causing several meets to be canceled, but five of the six swimmers are on club teams and have kept practicing even when the high school teams didn’t.

“I’m the only one who swims only on the high school team,” Stiens said. “I didn’t get a lot of practice before the region because of snow days.”

That hasn’t deterred the relay team, which has a simple goal for state — cut time.

Bryan has a similar goal.

“I just want to do my best,” he said, “trust my abilities.”

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