It's Summer in spring as Lion takes top individual honor

It may have been the spring sports season, but this 2016 girls’ swimming campaign ended up being all about Summer.

Lansing junior Summer Dietz played another big role in the continued surge of the Lions’ program, that finished 17th at the Class 5A state finals with a young team.

Dietz’s two individual finals appearances and her role on a two other relay teams that swam on day two in Topeka, were enough to warrant her the 2016 Leavenworth Times’ Select Girls’ Swimmer of the Year.

Dietz finished seventh in the 500-yard freestyle at the state finals, was 12th in the individual medley and was a member of the 200-medley relay that finished eighth as well as the 400-freestyle relay which also made the finals.

“I feel very honored,” Dietz said when told she was the swimmer of the year. “I was shocked when I won this title.”

Swimming came to Dietz early on.

"I started swimming when I was about 8. When I first started, I thought that swimming was really fun. I liked that it challenged me. I started swimming because a friend invited me to practice and I fell in love with it.”

She fell in love with it enough to also become the Kaw Valley League’s individual champion in the 200-meter IM and 100-meter breaststroke, while being a member of the 400-meter freestyle relay champions.

Dietz was a state qualifier in five events and had consideration times in thee others.

"Summer's season long accomplishments speak for themselves especially her results at state,” Lansing head coach David Bresser said. “She excelled individually as well as being an integral member of two relays at state. Summer swam 19 individual races throughout the season and won 13. She never placed lower than third. 

"She is a quiet leader who leads by example in the water and in the classroom. She is a straight A student and a member of the National Honor Society.”

She also broke four school records (200-meter IM, 500-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, and 100-meter breaststroke) en route to being the team’s top point scorer.

Dietz has some serious hopes for the Lansing team that will return a bevy of top scorers.

“I am super excited,” Dietz said. “We have improved and grown so much. I look forward to the future of Lansing swimming.

"My goals are to medal at state again and get accepted into college and earn a swimming scholarship. I am thinking about going into an engineering career.”

THE SELECT

SWIMMER OF THE YEAR - Summer Dietz, junior, Lansing

Mekayla DePaolis, senior, Lansing

Considered the leader of the young Lions, DePaolis qualified automatically for two state events and was a member of all three state relay teams.

"She is the unquestioned leader of this year's team,” Bresser said. “She is a team captain and leads by example in all areas … never misses a practice, works hard every day, senior class president, straight A student. Mekayla is the heart and soul of this team. She is unselfish and was genuinely happy and proud of her teammates who swam in state finals.”

Maddie Walker, sophomore, Lansing

Walker stepped up big in her second year as she qualified for the state’s 200-meter freestyle race and also was a member of the Lion relay teams despite battling a shoulder that wasn’t 100 percent.

“Maddie had success in the pool and was a key member of all our relays,” Bresser said. “She swam all three relays at both KVL and at state. Her reliability as a strong relay swimmer was instrumental is having our relays place well at KVL and all make it to finals at state. Maddie is a straight A student and the epitome of a teammate. 

“Before the season began it looked as though there would be no season for her. She tore her labrum and looked to be out. While she was awaiting referrals from doctors she remained positive for her teammates. If she can do this well with a bad shoulder, I look forward to having her back next year at 100 percent."

Trinity Hall, freshman, Lansing

Hall’s 100-meter backstroke qualified for state and she was in consideration time for all four freestyle events. She also was a member of the three, final-day relay teams.

"This was a great first season for Trinity,” Bresser said. “Qualifying for finals in an individual event is a get step. She will continue to improve and will be making impacts at state for years to come. Swimming at the state meet in her first year is tremendous for building experience and confidence. She saw what it is like and knows what it takes to get there. She also realizes what it will take to move up in the standings. 

“She also excels beyond the pool as a good student and is member of her class leadership student council.”

Elizabeth Bert, freshman, Leavenworth

Bert earned a state time in the 500-meter freestyle and swam a 6:06.45 which was a personal best.

"In the 500 free, Elizabeth decreased her best time by 12 seconds throughout the season,” Leavenworth head coach Kaley Wittrock said. “She also earned a state consideration time in the 100-meter butterfly during the season with a time of 1:12.74. Elizabeth was recognized as the most valuable swimmer on the Leavenworth team. … Elizabeth scored 79 points individually for the team, and had two first and second place finishes at meets throughout the season.”

HONORABLE MENTION

Emma Cleland Leighton, junior, Leavenworth

Hope Hanlen, freshman, Leavenworth