By RICK PETERSON
It only took Topeka West senior Kadence Jeffries one visit to Omaha to realize that was the place to pursue her college swimming career.
Jeffries, a four-time Class 5A-1A state champion for the Chargers, made her choice official Wednesday, signing a national letter of intent with the NCAA Division I Mavericks.
"It was kind of between between Drury University in Springfield (Mo.) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, but as soon as I stepped on the campus at Omaha, it just kind of felt right,'' Jeffries said. "It's such a beautiful place and then I met with the team and I met with the coaches and they're just the most incredibly nice people and so supportive.
"Without even really knowing me they were ready to help me and ready to push me and get me to where I feel I need to be. They're just amazing and I just felt like it was the right place to go.''
Jeffries swept 5A-1A state championships in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 free last spring as a junior, repeating her double gold-medal-winning performance from her freshman season. Jeffries is four for four in her individual events at state after having her sophomore season canceled due to COVID-19.
A two-time first-team All-State selection in 5A-1A, Jeffries also swept the 200 and 500 free events in both the city and Centennial League meets and also led the Chargers to the city championship and a second-place Centennial League finish in the 200 free relay. Jeffries helped Topeka West add 12th-place finishes in the 200 medley and 200 free relays at state.
Jeffries said it was a big relief to get her college choice made.
"It was really stressful after the two visits because I visited both schools and it was really stressful to try and pick which one I wanted to go to because they're both really great schools, but now after signing it's really a lot off of my chest.''
Now Jeffries can turn all of her attention to trying to cap her high school career with a big senior season.
"I didn't really ever think I'd be here today,'' Jeffries said after signing her letter of intent. "Starting swimming 10 years ago it was all new because I'd never done any other sports and I was just going into it but now it's just incredible what I've accomplished and I've surprised myself so much.''