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Local trio shares MVP at Show-Me Conference swim meet
It was fitting that the Show-Me Conference boys swim meet had three co-MVPs.
The meet featured exciting finishes for state cuts.
John Burroughs won the meet, while Notre Dame finished second, Jackson fourth, Central fifth and Saxony Lutheran sixth.
But it was the local teams that provided the most exciting races of the afternoon.
Central's Jordan Gramling, Jackson's Kristian Troxel and Saxony Lutheran's Connor McGinnis each shared MVP honors by capturing first in two events.
McGinnis summed up the theme of the meet.
"Prepare for state," the senior said. "Try to get better times and get seeded better for state."
While that was the theme for those already qualified, it was one last shot to make the state cut for others.
Perhaps the most exciting finish came when Notre Dame's Alec Domjan qualified for state in the 100 freestyle.
The Bulldogs senior finished in 50.60 seconds. The state cut is 50.69.
The excited Domjan waited anxiously for the time to appear on the video board before unleashing celebratory screams.
"From the very beginning, he told me he was going to get the state cut in the 100 and 200 free," Notre Dame coach Lenny Kuper said. "He got the 200 earlier in the season, and he decided to make us wait until the end for the 100. I knew he had it in him."
McGinnis powered his way to a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle by narrowly edging Domjan.
His other victory came in the 100 backstroke. He shattered his own meet record by almost 2 seconds.
"My 200 free, it was good," McGinnis said. "And my 100 back, I had a bad first turn, but other than that they went well."
Gramling joined the first-place parade in the fourth event, the 50 freestyle.
The Central senior broke his own meet record en route to a convincing victory.
"The 50's always been my favorite event," Gramling said. "It's the shortest. That's why I love to swim it. I've been tapering for it. Well I haven't fully tapered for it, but I'm about halfway through my taper, and I was hoping to do really good today, which I did. I set the meet record, which I'm very glad I did. And I'm looking forward to doing better at state."
The senior's other victory came in the 100 freestyle.
"In some ways, I see it as a pre-meet for state," Gramling said. "This is where a lot of swimmers try to get their best cuts. A lot of them try to get their state cuts here because this is their last chance."
Troxel fittingly broke his own meet record while capturing first place in the 200 individual medley.
The junior blew away the field by more than 5 seconds.
"This year my focus has been on getting stronger and getting bigger for the next seasons to come and for future colleges," Troxel said. "This year I'm just trying to get at where I was last year, and I happen to be a little bit faster in some events."
Troxel then took on the daunting task of the 500 freestyle, an event he won by more than 25 seconds.
"The 500 free, I've swam longer, but about this time of the season that's the hardest event you can think of right about now," Troxel said. "You swim the 100 free, and yeah it's hard, but it's less than a minute. You come to the 500 free and you're talking five-minutes plus."
The Bulldogs reappeared on the scene in event nine when their 200 freestyle relay team got the fans on their feet by sneaking under the state cut.
Notre Dame finished in 1:34.87, just better than the state-cut time of 1:34.99.
"We knew we had a chance going into the meet at a state cut," Kuper said. "But it was going to be close. All four members had to do their very best, and they didn't disappoint."
Other local winners included Notre Dame's Dustin Parsons in the 100 butterfly and Jackson's Kelton Burgi in diving.
Team standings -- John Burroughs 467; Notre Dame 417; Westminster Christian 314; Jackson 273; Central 203; Saxony Lutheran 49
Local top threes
200 medley relay -- 1. John Burroughs 1:44.07; 2. Notre Dame, 1:48.92; 3. Jackson, 1:49.72
200 freestyle -- 1. Connor McGinnis, SL, 1:49.42; 2. Alec Domjan, ND, 1:51.31
200 individual medley -- 1. Kristian Troxel, J, 2:01.63
50 freestyle -- 1. Jordan Gramling, C, 22.22
Diving -- 1. Kelton Burgi, J, 324.45
100 butterfly -- 1. Dustin Parsons, ND, 55.13; 3. Joey Janisse, J, 1:00.13
100 freestyle -- 1. Gramling, C, 48.29; 2. Domjan, ND, 50.60
500 freestyle -- 1. Troxel, J, 4:54.53; 2. Austin Hobbs, J, 5:20.26; 3. Matt Jedlinski, ND, 5:26.95
200 freestyle relay -- 2. Notre Dame, 1:34.87
100 backstroke -- 1. McGinnis, SL, 55.96; 3. Parsons, ND, 57.56
100 breaststroke -- 3. Hobbs, J, 1:08.08
400 freestyle relay -- 2. Notre Dame, 3:38.58; 3. Jackson, 3:39.65