KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill South High School’s boys swimming team is on a mission, and it may end with the school’s first state championship in the water.

The Panthers finished second at last year’s MSHSAA State Swim Meet. Park Hill South has never won a state swimming championship. The team finished first in 11 of its 12 swim meets this year.

That total includes the celebrated COMO Invitational Swim Meet in late September, which is arguably Missouri’s most important swim meet at the high school level. That Panthers placed first out of 55 Show-Me-State teams, suggesting they’ve become the class of their sport.

“When they realize they can reach this goal, now you’ve got kids getting on other kids to make sure they’re doing the right stuff. You’ve got kids competing with each other for relay spots,” Tim Busenhart, Park Hill South’s head swim coach, said.

Busenhart is now in his sixth season as head coach, but he’s been affiliated with the school’s swim program for 26 years. His team’s strong senior class adds to this club’s confidence.

“They have a lot of experience. They know what they’re doing. We know what we’re doing, so we’re able to help out other people,” Roman Lewis, one of Park Hill South’s swimmers, said. 

“We’re all super strong fast swimmers. All of our divers look really pretty,” Cooper McQueen, a Panthers diver, said. “We just have to perform the best we can.”

Some would say the pool was primed well before this season. In their past four years, the Panthers have finished no worse than fourth at the state swim meet, not to mention two state runners-up. Eight senior swimmers say they don’t want to leave without gold in their hands.

Park Hill South hopes to get its chance at a state swimming title at the Class 2 State Swim meet. That event is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 in St. Peter’s, Missouri.