The Leavenworth Pioneers and Lansing Lions swim teams will travel to Topeka Friday and Saturday for the state meet.

The Lions enter the meet with nine qualifiers.

Trinity Hall qualified in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Darby Mance will swim in the 200 individual medley, 100 back, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. Samantha Moburg swims the 200 and 400 free relays. Alix Lawler will be in all three relays. Austyn Garcia, Kailyn Cline and Gracie Slattery are in the 200 free relay. Ryley Bullock and Alexis Buchholz will swim the 200 medley relay. 

Lions head coach David Bresser said preparation for the Lions has been great.

“The only thing I would have liked is our United Kansas Conference meet a little earlier last week,” Bresser said. “We had it on Thursday and it cut down on the prep time that I would have liked to have. The boys’ UKC meet was on Tuesday the week prior (to state in February) so we had just a little bit more time. But overall, we weren’t interfered with any weather problem like the boys’ and we weren’t worried about cancellations.”

Hall said the prep for Lansing has been about the same as previous years. 

“It’s a lot of focusing on our strengths,” Hall said. “And critiquing our weaknesses. It’s mainly mentally preparing. Figuring out what we need to do and think while we are actually swimming. So it’s a lot of mental and physical work.”

Hall returning to state has motivated the senior and being part of the team is what pushes her in the long run. 

“I know what the state swim meet is like,” Hall said. “So I just want to give (the team) pointers so they can do good.”

Bresser said the prep for state will be different with the team preparing to swim fast for two days.

“We want to swim fast on Friday so we can qualify for Saturday,” he said. “That’s our goal. To be swimming on Saturday at finals. Trinity (Hall) has an outstanding shot at that. Darby (Mance) has an outside shot. But the relays is really where we can make something.”

Hall said she is looking forward to the swimming at the meet the most.

“I have a lot of pressuring going in,” Hall said. “And I’ve worked really hard this year. I am interested to see how much I can cut and where I’ll be placed at.”

Bresser said the state meet is the meet he looks forward to the most each year due to the difference between it and the others. He also wanted to pass on his wishes and good luck to the Leavenworth team.

“I’m very happy to hear all their relays got in,” Bresser said.

For Leavenworth, the Pioneers qualified all three relay teams. Elizabeth Bert, Hope Hanlen, Alissa McCarter, Kennedy Gibson and Maya Brothers will swim on the relay teams with Erin Ruggles being an alternate. 

Due to the relay times being consideration times instead of automatic qualifying times, head coach Kaley Wittrock said the team started practice after the UKC meet in case they did make it. 

“We started swimming last week after league swimming as if we were going to state,” Wittrock said. “We found out (Tuesday) for sure. So we have been working on our taper, speed and little technique things.”

Wittrock said the team was a little anxious before they found out the teams made it but then got excited.

“We always prepared like we were going to one way or another,” she said. 

She said it took a weight off the shoulders of the team when they found out the team was going and the girls were excited. 

Senior Elizabeth Bert said the Pioneers swimming at last week’s UKC meet has helped prepare the team better for state this season.

“Getting able to swim at conference last week has really helped us prepare this year,” Bert said. “We didn’t have to taper as long as we did in the Sunflower League. So racing last week and coming into this week with that mentality has helped a lot.”

Bert said it was a big relief to find out the team made it, especially for her as the senior will now be a state qualifier for her entire high school career. She also said she is looking forward to one last time swimming at the state meet.

“I think what I’m looking forward to the most at state Friday is getting able to race one last time with my teammates and friends,” Bert said. “Just racing and having fun. I’m not into it to win, but the aspect of the team and all that.”

The state meet begins at noon Friday for Leavenworth in the 6A meet and 2 p.m. for Lansing in the 5-4-3-2-1A meet. 

Saturday’s action will start at 10 a.m. for Leavenworth and 3:30 p.m. for Lansing.