Two of Christian County’s best swimmers turned in breakthrough performances at the 2018 Class 2 Missouri State High School Activities Association Swimming and Diving Championships.
Nixa’s Olivia Stoneman and Ozark’s Chloe Nelson both earned all-state honors for the first time in their careers after finishing in the top eight in two events each at state, which was held at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters. The top eight finishers in each event swim in the championship heat and are named all state; the next eight swim in the consolation heat and are named honorable mention all-state.
It was third straight trip to St. Peters for Stoneman, who earned all-state honorable mentions as a freshman and a sophomore. The third time turned out to be the charm for Stoneman, who qualified for the championship heat in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly. She finished sixth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.22 seconds. That was an improvement of .23 seconds — and one place — over her preliminary-round swim and just .77 seconds behind state champion Kirsten Votava, a senior at Parkway South. Four of the five swimmers to finish ahead of Stoneman are seniors.
Stoneman finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly, at 58.13 seconds. Cor Jesu Academy junior Karisa Franz took first, with a time of 54.36, more than two seconds ahead of Park Hill South senior Paige Riekhof. Third-place finisher Taylor Norwood, of Poplar Bluff, is also a senior.
Nelson’s top finish was seventh, in the 200-yard freestyle. Her time in that event was 1:55.71, just .23 seconds behind sixth-place finisher Emily Traube, of Nerinx Hall. Nelson finished eighth in that event in the prelims, edging out Staley’s Rachel Janiak by nearly a full second for the eighth and final spot in the championship heat.
The junior was eighth in the 100-yard freestyle, at 53.77 seconds, just behind Kirkwood senior Claire Lin and her time of 53.45 seconds.
It was also Nelson’s third trip to state. As a freshman she swam both the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing 18th overall, and the 200-yard individual medley. Last year Nelson swam the 100-yard breaststroke at St. Peters.
Ozark’s 200-yard freestyle relay earned an all-state honorable mention, taking 15th overall. Nelson swam in that race, alongside freshman Emily Cobb, sophomore Ashley Mallonee and senior Grace Scheer.
Scheer also qualified for state as an individual and competed in the 50-yard freestyle, taking 24th in the prelims. Her time was 25.60 seconds.
Both schools had freshman divers qualify for state. Ozark’s Ella Scott finished 29th overall. Nixa’s Lillie Blevins is the first Eagle ever to qualify in that event. She finished 30th.
Ozark’s 400-yard freestyle team of Cobb, Nelson, Scheer and Carissa Sutton finished 20th. The Tigers’ 200-yard medley relay team of Scheer, Emily Cobb, Ashley Mallonee and Molly Schuder finished 24th in prelims.
Nixa’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Stoneman, Sara Baxter, Kensey Frazee and Alejandra Eguireun finished 19th in prelims. Baxter, Eguireun Frazee and Sloane Lawson finished 31st in the 400-yard freestyle relay.