Selbert breaks state record in 500 freestyle as Mehlville takes 20th at state swim meet

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Mehlville Senior High School’s Brigette Selbert shattered a state record and captured back-to-back second-place finishes in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle last week-end at the Missouri Girls’ Swimming and Diving Championships at the St. Peters RecPlex.

Her total of 34 points gave Mehlville a 20th-place finish at the state championships.

The 2008-2009 season was the first year that Selbert had competed for the Panthers after participating in the USA Swimming ranks during her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.

“It was fun to take her to invitationals and have everyone ask where she came from,” Mehlville head coach Keri Kern said. “I don’t think that in the recent past that we’ve scored that many points at state.”

In the 200 freestyle, Selbert clocked a time of 1:50.47, was just off the 1:48.32 set by state champion Taylor Whorley of Timberland.

“Brigette swam the 200 several times this year and to swim 1:50.57 in the prelims was a big surprise for me,” Kern said. “Taylor was very good competition for her and I thought that she had a great swim in the prelims and finals.”

Selbert also had a strong showing in the 500 freestyle as she broke the state record in the preliminaries with a time of 4:56.61.

The record had been held by Jamie Saxe of Lafayette since 2000.

In the championship finals, Selbert battled Blue Springs’ Elanor Prewitt-Thomas lap for lap throughout most of the race.

Selbert held a slight advantage midway through the race, but in the final 100 yards, Prewitt-Thomas clocked a 58.62 compared to Selbert’s 1:00.58 for the state championship.

“Brigette swam her heart out and for her to come out and break the state record in the prelims was just unreal,” Kern said.

Kern also noted that even though Selbert competed for just one season at Mehlville, she believes that Selbert will leave a lasting impact on the program.

“I think it really worked out well for her and brought a lot of experience to the team,” Kern said. “Everything worked out really well with all the girls and I think that this will do wonders for the team.”

Lindbergh High’s Kathryn Hagerty got the Flyers on the scoreboard with a seventh-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.87.

The junior sprint freestyle specialist’s 12 points from the 100 free gave the Flyers a 31st-place finish at the state champion-ships.