KPZ: West's Jeffries, Seaman's Grace take Centennial League by storm

Published: May. 19, 2019 at 10:45 PM CDT
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Topeka West freshman Kadence Jeffries and Seaman freshman Gabby Grace are humble and determined swimmers.

It just so happens they've also taken the Kansas high school swimming scene by storm.

"I was like, 'Okay, it's finally here, Gabby,'" Grace said. "'You've been looking forward to this for three years. Just go have a good season.'"

Although the duo may be literally wet behind the ears, they certainly don't swim like it.

"I just have a positive mindset," Jeffries said. "I try and stay positive even though I know I'm nervous. If I add time, it's still okay. I still tried my best and went for it."

Went for it, they have.

Jeffries and Grace tied for first place individually at the Centennial League Swim and Dive Championship.

Then at the Class 5A-1A State Championship, they both medaled in multiple events.

Grace took seventh in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke as well as being named All-State second team.

Jeffries took the title in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. She was also named co-athlete of the meet and All-State first team.

Midseason, Jeffries also underwent an appendectomy which kept her out of the water for two weeks and three meets. At state, she hit her stride again, beating her personal best in the 100-yard freestyle by three seconds.

Both girls' accomplishments are incredibly impressive, especially for freshmen.

"I'm comfortable and I'm used to racing these girls (from club competition) so I know I have to go hard for every race," Grace said. "I know they're going to go hard too."

For both Jeffries and Grace, the motivation stems from immense support.

"I like to talk to my parents a lot about it and they just give me the motivation," Jeffries said. "My teammates are there for me when I need them. They give you the little push to help keep where you're at and keep you motivated."

"Definitely my coaches because I've had a whole bunch of different coaches who have influenced me differently and pushed me to be the best that I can be," Grace said.

The duo now has another year of experience behind them, but they don't plan to stop there.

Sophomore season is officially in full swing.

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