Platte County coach Bret Anderson took a step back to look at the positive of the North Kansas City Invitational, which featured more than 20 teams. The field for the two-day meet included reigning Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships team champions Glendale (Class 1) Rockhurst (Class 2).
Placing six individual events and two relays in the B Finals helped Platte County to a 15th-place finish in the final standings with 40 points — not bad with Lee’s Summit, Park Hill South Rockhurst and Glendale taking the top four spots Saturday at the Gladstone Community Center.
“I walked away disappointed but then I’m like, ‘Wait. We dropped time and a good amount of time,’” Anderson said. “We felt pretty good and there is still room for improvement. It felt good, and we could be better and that is kind of where you want to be. You don’t want today to be the best time of the year.
“There are a lot of amazing swimmers there, and for what we do, we felt we were pretty successful.”
Platte County senior Dylan Bietz (50-yard freestyle, 22.93 seconds) and freshman Palmer Keith (100-yard butterfly, 55.72) recorded the top finishes, coming in ninth as winners of the B Finals.
Bietz added a 17th-place finish in the 100 freestyle as part of the B Final in that event, and teamed with junior Gage Jonkman, junior Collin Burton and Keith on the 11th-place 200 freestyle relay, which finished in 1:35.53 and dropped 2 seconds in the process to record a season-best. The Pirates currently rank 10th in Class 1 with that time.
Burton made the B final in the 100 butterfly alongside Keith and finished 16th. Keith took 14th in the 100 breaststroke, as well.
Platte County freshman Deacon Gutshall was the fourth individual for the Pirates to swim in the B Finals, placing 17th in the 500 freestyle and 18th in the 100 backstroke. Anderson noted that his time of 5:21.33 in the 500 was solid but since it was the ‘C’ final it counts as an exhibition and not eligible to qualify for state.
Keith (100 breaststroke), Yocklin (100 breaststroke) and Gutshall (100 backstroke) all recorded season-best times in individual events.
Platte County’s 400 freestyle relay team took 14th with Burton, Gutshall, junior Carson Howe and Jonkman finishing in 3:41.03, dropping two spots from the seed out of preliminaries. The Pirates’ 200 medley relay team was disqualified during prelims at this meet.
“With relays, we are swimming certain ones at each meet to get the best time and today was the 200 free and next Saturday will be the (200) medley and 400 free(style),” Anderson said.
Platte County will face two teams they saw this past weekend when Park Hill South and Smithville visit the Platte County Community Center North on Tuesday for a triangular starting at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the Pirates will take part in the COMO Invitational at the University of Missouri. That meet was canceled last year, but Anderson said he is looking forward to the Pirates seeing a lot of the St. Louis schools at the meet to get a gage of where the team is at this point in the season.
Placed with the large schools in Saturday’s meet at Belton, Platte County put up a strong fourth-place showing in a difficult field that included powerhouse Rockhurst, Blue Springs South and Raytown. Bietz, Keith and Burton plus the 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays all set season-best times.
Bietz moved all the way up to No. 12 in the Class 1 Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships consideration qualifying times with a new personal-best — finishing first in 22.81. He also placed third in the 100 freestyle with a season-best 51.62, while Keith came in fifth in a career-best 52.18 in the same race.
One of three impressive freshmen for Platte County, Keith came in second in the 200 individual medley at 2:05.27, which is now the No. 11 time in Class 1. Burton trails just behind Keith in the 100 butterfly state pecking order after coming in third at 58.09. Burton also placed ninth in the 50 freestyle.
Platte County’s other top-10 finishers included Gutshall (sixth, 2:02.68 in 200 freestyle; eight, 1:02.30 in 100 butterfly), junior Carson Howe (seventh, 1:05.97 in 100 backstroke) and senior Douglas Wallace (10th, 1:15.85 in 100 breaststroke).
For the relays, Platte County stacked the 200 medley and 400 freestyle teams. The quartet of Gutshall, Keith, Burton and Bietz placed second to Rockhurst in the medley relay to open the meet and finished third to Rockhurst and Blue Springs South in the longer freestyle race to close the meet at 3:32.88. The Pirates rolled up 260 team points to finish fourth out of eight teams, 39 behind Raytown and 5 1/2 clear of fifth-place Pembroke Hill.