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2020 Boys Swimmer/Diver of the Year: Worth cements legacy at LS North

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Lee's Summit North senior Daniel Worth, left, checks his time after winning the 100-yard butterfly final in the Suburban Big Eight Championships. Worth claimed a pair of state titles and set the Class 2 state record in the butterfly on his way to repeating as The Examiner's Swimmer/Diver of the Year.

When Daniel Worth entered high school four years ago, he had grandiose plans as a ninth grader.

The Lee’s Summit North student wanted to win a state championship once and wanted to see how close he could get to a state record.

Flash forward four years: Worth’s high school swimming career is over but he leaves a storied program with his names dotted across the record board. The 2020 Examiner Swimmer/Diver of the Year owns five state records, five school records and finished his career with 13 first-place medals at the state meet.

“It is cool looking back now,” Worth said. “I never pictured what I did in my high school career.”

Worth’s career started the same year Thomas Faulkenberry took over as the head coach of the program. He saw the progression of Worth from a talented young swimmer to a leader of a team, one who pushed his teammates to put in work outside of the pool, like in the weight room or watching film and studying the results.

“He grew up in the club scene and it was obvious he really loved the grind of the sport,” Faulkenberry said. “He is a really special one. Our journey started together; essentially you got to see who he became as a swimmer is awesome. He has a lot of state records to his name and you see him become a leader of the team. You saw how he taught our guys how to work and shifted that culture. That is really cool; he really helped create this culture that led to the team success we have had the last three or four years.

“I would be a liar if I said I knew what he would become over the course of the four years.”

Before going to the state meet in November, he became the latest Broncos swimmer to head to a Division I school. He signed with the University of Virginia, picking the Cavaliers over Indiana, Louisville, California and Texas.

Worth said he knew after his freshman year he would have a chance to go D-I.

The recruiting process started the summer heading into his junior year and he can’t even recall the number of texts and emails he received the first day coaches could contact him for recruiting purposes. He committed to Virginia during his junior year, the third Broncos swimmer since 2013 to head to D-I, following J.T. Hynes (Utah) and Liam Bressette (Arizona State) on the boys side and Haley Hynes (Missouri) on the girls.

“It just proves any level swimmer can come succeed at Lee’s Summit North,” Faulkenberry said. “We can develop you but if you are already pretty damn good, we can get you where you want to go.”

Worth picked up gold medals No. 11, 12 and 13 at his final state meet, winning the 100-yard butterfly in a Class 2 state record time (48.57 seconds), 100-yard breaststroke (54.15) – for the fourth time – and was on the 200-yard medley relay that set a state record (1:32.33) with a win.

Even those achievements didn’t meet Worth’s own expectations.

“I didn’t end like I wanted it to my senior year, overall,” Worth said of the state meet that was changed from two days to one due to COVID-19 precautions. “I expected much better times. I didn’t have a great meet time-wise.”

Despite the personal feelings, Worth’s legacy has already been secured at Lee’s Summit North and the state.

2020 Examiner All-Area Boys Swimming & Diving

FIRST TEAM

200-yard medley relay: Lee’s Summit North (Alder Harding, sr.; Daniel Worth, sr.; Clayton Adkins, sr.; Kyle Forlow, sr.) — Class 2 state champion (1:32.33, overall and Class 2 state record time); Suburban Big Eight champion (1:34.29, Suburban Conference record).

200 freestyle: George Bahr, jr., Blue Springs South — 10th at Class 2 state championships (1:46.30); 3rd at Suburban Big Eight Championships (1:45.51).

200 individual medley: Ben Luna, soph., Lee’s Summit North — 15th at Class 2 state championships (2:02.65); 4th at Suburban Big Eight Championships (2:03.30).

50 freestyle: Kyle Forlow, sr., Lee's Summit North — Class 2 state runner-up (21.55); Suburban Big Eight champion (21.50).

1-meter diving: Josiah Thomson, sr., Blue Springs — 4th at Class 2 state championships (464.40); Suburban Big Eight champion (514.25); school six-dive record (319.25).

100 butterfly: Daniel Worth, sr., Lee's Summit North — Class 2 state champion (48.57, Class 2 state record); Suburban Big Eight champion (48.18).

100 freestyle: Kyle Forlow, sr., Lee's Summit North — 7th at Class 2 state championships (48.53); Suburban Big Eight runner-up (48.53).

500 freestyle: George Bahr, jr., Blue Springs South — 11th at Class 2 state championships (4:46.56); 8th at Suburban Big Eight Championships (5:11.56).

200 freestyle relay: Lee's Summit North (Kyle Forlow, sr.; Clayton Adkins, sr.; Alder Harding, sr.; Daniel Worth, sr.) — 3rd at Class 2 state championships (1:25.49); Suburban Big Eight runner-up (1:26.34).

100 backstroke: Ryan Griffel, sr., Blue Springs South — 15th at Class 2 state championships (55.70); 5th at Suburban Big Eight Championships (55.53)

100 breaststroke: Daniel Worth, sr., Lee’s Summit North — Class 2 state champion (54.15); Suburban Big Eight champion (54.10); 2019 and 2020 Examiner Boys Swimmer/Diver of the Year.

400 freestyle relay: Blue Springs South (Carter McIntosh, soph.; Ryan Griffel, sr.; Chason Smith, sr.; George Bahr, jr.) — 7th at Class 2 state championships (3:18.67).

SECOND TEAM

200-yard medley relay: Blue Springs South (Ryan Griffel, sr.; George Bahr, jr.; Landon Luke, sr.; Carter McIntosh, soph.)

200 freestyle: Grant Idoux, jr., Lee's Summit North

200 individual medley: Alder Harding, sr., Lee's Summit North

50 freestyle: Clayton Adkins, sr., Lee's Summit North

1-meter diving: JJ Davis, soph., Blue Springs

100 butterfly: Broedy Gilburn, soph., Blue Springs South

100 freestyle: Clayton Adkins, sr., Lee's Summit North

500 freestyle: Hayden Cox, fresh., Truman

200 freestyle relay: Blue Springs South (Carter McIntosh, soph.; Broedy Gilburn, soph.; Luke Fournier, sr.; Ryan Griffel, sr.)

100 backstroke: Graham Adkins, fresh., Lee's Summit North

100 breaststroke: Ben Luna, soph., Lee’s Summit North

400 freestyle relay: Lee's Summit North (Alder Harding, sr.; Collin Meyer, sr.; Ben Luna, soph.; Grant Idoux, jr.)

HONORABLE MENTION

Blue Springs: Gabe Marthaler, sr., 100 breaststroke; 200 medley relay (Jack Johnson, jr.; Gabe Marthaler, sr.; William Harris, fresh.; Derek Banta, sr.); 200 freestyle relay (Jack Johnson, jr.; Keenan Colon, jr.; Caleb Franklin, jr.; William Smalley, jr.); 400 freestyle relay (Jack Johnson, jr.; Caleb Franklin, jr.; Derek Banta, sr.; William Smalley, jr.); Blue Springs South: Broedy Gilburn, soph., 200 freestyle; Carter McIntosh, soph., 50 freestyle; Ryan Griffel, sr., 50 freestyle; James Price, jr., 1-meter diving; Grain Valley: Eli Hendricks, jr., 1-meter diving; Lee’s Summit North: Weston Hemmerling, soph., 100 breaststroke; Grant Idoux, jr., 100 freestyle.