Swimmer Jessica Nichols Qualifies For State At the Rec-Plex Feb. 15

By Jim Wieners

Hazelwood West freshman swimmer Jessica Nichols took only one week and three meets before she qualified for the Missouri State High School Activities Association Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships that will take place Feb. 15-16 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

Swimming will start at 3 p.m. each day with the top 16 swimmers from the Feb. 15 preliminaries advancing to the Feb. 16 Finals.

Hazelwood West competed Dec. 8, 2012 at the Ladue Invitational with Nichols swimming the 50-Yard Freestyle in 25.75 seconds. The maximum time to qualify for state, since there are no districts, is 25.79 seconds.

That seemed to be Nichols only event at state until Jan. 28 when she swam the 100-Yard Freestyle in a Hazelwood West home meet against Suburban North Conference rival Pattonville in 56.46 seconds. Three days later, in a Jan 31 home meet for West against Wentzville-Timberland, Nichols did one-hundredths of a second better as she swam the 100 Freestyle in 56.45. The maximum to qualify in the 100 Freestyle is 56.49 seconds.

“She (Nichols) is a great swimmer,” said Hazelwood West head coach Rebbecca Dersch after Hazelwood West won a Feb. 1 dual meet, 112-58 at Ritenour. “She’s got a work ethic in the pool and she works hard. She can swim all the strokes and she is good at it.”

Nichols can still qualify for state in two more events but will have to be in relays — 200-Yard Medley, 200-Yard Freestyle and 400-Yard Freestyle — and all swimmers, as well as divers,  need to qualify by Feb. 9. For Hazelwood West, Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood East, McCluer North and McCluer the last meet before state is the Suburban North Conference meet, Feb. 6-8 at Pattonville’s new Natatorium. Trinity closes the season with the Archdiocesan Athletic Association championships Feb. 7-8 (site unknown at press time) and Incarnate Word Academy will close with the MWAA Championships Feb. 7, 9 at Ladue.

INCARNATE WORD ACADEMY has qualified a diver for the one-meter event Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m. at the Rec-Plex. Junior Julia Foster qualified with a 248.7 performance in a Jan. 24 tri meet between IWA, Wentzville-Holt and Fort Zumwalt West. The minimum to qualify is 210 points and as of Feb. 1 Foster is ranked fifth according to direct athletics.com.

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