Savvides, Blattner top the podium at state
For the third consecutive year Wichita Heights junior Katelyn Blattner brought home the 200 Freestyle title. Her winning time of 1:51.49 was her fastest of her three title winning races and Heights head coach Dale Heckman knows that Blattner shines brightest on the biggest of stages.
“Katelyn (Blattner) comes to compete everyday,” said Heckman. "In big races she turns it on. She knows what to do, how to prepare herself. She has a game-plan for several weeks and she pulled it off."
Blattner also won the 500 Freestyle with a time of 4:58.55, more than five seconds faster than the second place finisher and only 0.6 seconds off of the state record.
With the two titles won this spring, the Blattner family now owns 13 state swimming titles between Katelyn and her older brother and number one supporter Bryce, who was in Topeka to witness his sister's victories.
"Just having him (Bryce) here is a lot of fun because we're there for each other no matter what," Katelyn said fighting back tears. "This year without him, I've really missed him."
Bryce, who helped track Katelyn's laps in the 500 Freestyle, was all smiles as his sister gained bragging rights in terms of total individual state titles between the two.
"She's got more state titles individually than I did," Bryce laughed. "But big things are still to come for her and I'm really impressed actually."
With her senior year ahead of her, Heckman believes no goal is unattainable for Katelyn.
"She'll get that state record eventually and keeping going for it and she's going to work so hard," Heckman said after Katelyn missed a state record in the 500 Freestyle by only 0.60 seconds. "She's got a lot of future goals left to reach and she's going to get there."
Blue Valley Southwest continued to give 5-1A teams fits as the Timberwolves won their fourth consecutive state championship.
Finishing with 312 points, the Timberwolves won by more than 60 points.
Three first place finishes and 4 second place finishes helped clinch the four-peat. Southwest’s top performance may have been in the 200 IM after senior Isabelle Finzen (2:09.55) just finished ahead of her teammate Logan Johnsen (2:10.9) for first place.
SAVVIDES SHINES IN FIRST TRIP TO STATE
The East Aces ended the season strong with a fourth place finish and freshman Katerina Savvides turned heads after winning multiple individual medals. Savvides would win the 200 IM, and finished second and third in two other events.
Improving on her prelim time by more than four seconds, Savvides defeated upperclassmen Hailey Brull of Shawnee Mission Northwest by just 0.69 seconds for the 200 IM title. The accomplishment left the humble freshman overwhelmed.
"It felt so amazing, I just cannot believe I just won state. It hurt a lot of course but I just tried to push myself to win though. I don't know, I didn't really expect to win state so I'm just filled with joy right now I can't believe it," said Savvides.
After fighting for the lead after the first quarter of the race Savvides saw the opening she needed. After the backstroke she never relinquished her lead.
"I definitely noticed during the backstroke that I could win it. I saw their hands moving a little bit further back on backstroke and I know that's my strong point and that's my strong point so I know how to keep it going in the breast and freestyle,” she said.
Savvides also brought home the second place medal in the 100 meter backstroke (56.23) and also the third place trophy in the 200 Medley relay (1:49.47).
Bringing home the team state title was Shawnee Mission East with 386 points. The title marks the program’s sixth state title in the last seven years.