In 2010, the Lafayette girls swim team sat atop the state as team champion.
Ever since, the Lancers have been on a quest to restore the team’s dominance, and this weekend’s Missouri swimming and diving championships at the Rec Plex in St. Peters will provide the team another chance to do something it hasn’t done in awhile.
“For the upperclassmen, we’re more motivated to get a state trophy, just because we barely missed it last year,” Lafayette senior Mae Riordan said after the Lancers took fifth last season — one spot out of a trophy. “We have so many freshmen this year and they’ve all really stepped up. It’s been a major boost.”
Lafayette will be sending 16 swimmers to the state meet on Friday and Saturday in an effort to obtain a plaque.
Leading the way will be a pair of medal contenders in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle as Riordan and freshman Anna Luckenbach both have qualifying times in the top eight.
“It’s great to have someone who is a senior and knows what it’s like to go through the state meet,” Luckenbach said. “It’s great because I can learn from her.”
In the 200, Riordan and Luckenbach both established their times at the Suburban West Conference meet, where the pair finished 1/100th of a second apart.
Although Riordan has the fourth-best 500 qualifying time in the state and Luckenbach the eighth, the 200 has provided the pair a chance to push one another.
“We’re really good training together,” Riordan said. “We have really discussed (the close times) because we’re trying to go into the meet with as little pressure as possible.”
Lafayette coach Todd Gabel said that, although important, the one-two punch of Riordan and Luckenbach is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Lancers’ state hopes.
The team also has freshman Lillian Vanbiljon (8th-best qualifying time in the 100 freestyle, 3rd in the 100 backstroke), junior Claire Kirchhoeffer (6th in the 200 IM), the 200 freestyle relay (6th), the 400 free relay (5th) and the 200 medley relay (2nd).
“There are a lot of underclassmen swimming for us in this meet,” Gabel said. “I have a lot of girls that I expect to do really well.”
Other swimmers with local ties who have qualified in position to earn medals: Kirkwood senior Jamie Fitzpatrick (4th-best time in the 50, 9th in the 100, 10th in the 100 fly), Parkway Central senior Courtney Nall (5th in the 50, 6th in the 100), St. Joseph’s freshman Anna Miller (6th in 50), Parkway South senior Sam Crocker (7th in the 50), Marquette freshman Alyssa Lemon (4th in the 100, 1st in the 200 and 500), Howell senior Maria Schroeder (10th in the 100, 1st in the 100 butterfly, 3rd in the 200 IM), MICDS freshman Evie Mauze (7th in the 200), Marquette junior Raquel Porporis (9th in the 200 and 100 backstroke, 5th in the 500), Marquette freshman Katiana Porporis (9th in the backstroke, 3rd in the breaststroke, 2nd in the 200 IM), Kirkwood junior Maggie Cox (6th in the 500, 7th in the breaststroke), Kirkwood freshman Erin Kelly (9th in the breaststroke), Parkway West sophomore Carolyn Kammeyer (2nd in the 100 fly, 7th in the 200 IM), Marquette senior Abby Watson (6th in the 100 fly, 2nd in the backstroke), Zumwalt West freshman Izzi Clark (8th in the backstroke) and Parkway Central freshman Madison Brown (6th in the backstroke).
In addition to Lafayette, several relays also are in good qualifying position: Kirkwood (top time in the state), Marquette (3rd), Howell (5th) and Parkway South (9th) in the 200 free; Marquette (1st), Parkway West (3rd), Kirkwood (4th) and MICDS (9th) in the 400; and Marquette (1st), Parkway West (6th), Parkway Central (9th) and Francis Howell (10th) in the 200 medley relay.
The preliminary round of swimming takes place at 3 p.m. Friday and the championship begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.