ST. PETERS – Blue Springs senior Corinne Rinne gave up plenty over the years to become state's best in the breaststroke.
And it was all worth it.
"This fall I gave up running cross country to focus more on swimming," Rinne said. "I went on a gluten-free diet, which was really tough, but I feel it helped me. I felt lighter and better."
Rinne, the defending state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, did it again Saturday when she topped a talented field with a time of 1 minute, 5.73 seconds. She edged second-place Madison Strathman of Kearney by .38 of a second. Rinne had also posted the best time in Friday's preliminaries.
"You try not to think about things you are missing out on when you have a big goal for yourself," an emotional Rinne said. "It's really hard sometimes, but when I was standing on top of the podium with another state title it felt so amazing. I think it was harder to repeat than to win it the first time."
Realizing the finality of it all being a senior, Rinne had to gather herself, but added: "After you've won it, you have an automatic target on you. You are the person everyone is gunning for and this is an incredible field of swimmers. Every one improved and got faster.
"It's so exciting to win and such a relief at the same time," she continued. "I was so nervous before the race. I was sitting down and my legs wouldn't stop moving. I can't believe that was my last (high school) race. It all went so fast. It really hasn't sunk in yet."
Rinne hasn't nailed down her collegiate future yet, but has excellent prospects and said she will likely end up at Drury, Missouri State, Kentucky or West Virginia.
Rinne's victory helped the Wildcats improve from ninth in 2013 to eighth in 2014 with 112 points. She also placed 10th in the 200 individual medley in 2:11.51 and teamed with senior Leigh Ana Dietiker and juniors Ashley Sturman and Lindsey Meyer to finish fifth in the 200 medley relay with an all-state time of 1:50.77.
Sturman also earned a pair of individual all-state finishes, capturing third place in the 500-yard freestyle (5:02.83) and sixth in the 100-yard butterfly (57.42).
Meyer took 10th in the 50 freestyle (25.02), senior Mariah Hagerty was 10th in diving with a score of 325.90, while the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Meyer, Dietiker, Sturman and Rinne was 10th (1:41.78).
Blue Springs South was 31st overall with a team score of 13, while Lee's Summit North was 15th with 69.
South diver Allie Steinhauser place 11th with 324.1 points, junior Kayla Canon was 16th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.10) and the 400 freestyle relay team of sophomores Anna Munoz and Sydney Dillon, freshman Kadie Clark and senior Bailey Barnett placed 14th (3:48.05).
North received most of its points from sophomore Haley Hynes, who crushed the competition in the 100 backstroke. Her time of 54.37 – just three-tenths of a second shy of the state record – was more than two seconds better than the 56.79 turned in by Park Hill South’s Tori Beeler, who had beaten Hynes by a second earlier in the 200 IM.
Hynes also took second in the 200 IM (2:05.18) and was the lead on the seventh-place 200 medley relay team that also included junior Nicole Voss and seniors Kristin Herrick and Jennifer Gray.
"I just had to get the nerves out," Hynes said. "And I was able to bring it home. It would have been nice to repeat in the 200 IM, but it's only high school swimming. It's big for some people, but I see it more as something that's fun."
In the team competition, Springfield Glendale won for the second-consecutive year. The Falcons scored 210 points to edge second-place Marquette (202) of Chesterfield, preserving a two-point lead with a win in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay.