Kewpies’ Willett 2nd in 100 backstroke

Senior’s finish was the highest for a Columbia swimmer at the meet.
Sunday, February 13, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:56 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ST. PETERS — Hickman and Rock Bridge had athletes in three events each during the second day of the Missouri State High School Activities Association boys’ swimming and diving championships Saturday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

Hickman senior John Willett, favored to win the 100-yard backstroke, took second place instead, the highest finish from Columbia swimmers.

“I’m a little disappointed,” said Willett, “I would have liked to improve on my time from yesterday, but at the same time, I’m kind of relieved to be finished.”

Willett also finished 16th in the boys’ 200 individual medley.

Hickman’s Dante Jones finished 14th in the preliminaries of the 1-meter diving event, then moved up to 10th in the semifinals before taking12th in the finals. Former Hickman diver Aaron Ashworth is the state record-holder in the event.

For Rock Bridge , junior Chuck Caldwell also swam in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing fourth.

Rock Bridge’s Michael Schoelz finished 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke and Rock Bridge finished 13th in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Rock Bridge and Hickman swimming and diving coach John Hamilton says that he is proud of the performances his competitors gave today.

Rock Bridge will return several swimmers next season and Hamilton is optimistic for the future.

“I’m happy for them, I think they came back the second day and competed very well,” said Hamilton.

Rock Bridge finished 17th in the team standings with 32 points and Hickman was 20th with 23.

The overall team title belonged to Rockhurst.

Rockhurst and Blue Springs battled throughout the competition for the lead in team scores.

The points system for the meet gave swimmers who placed, down to 16th, points.

Rockhurst fought back and recaptured the lead with a dramatic finish in the final event, the 400-yard free style relay.

In the end, Rockhurst out-scored Blue Springs 298-296.

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