Ask anyone who knows him, and you’ll find out quickly that Jordan DeLoach is a smart kid.
He took his first college course as a sophomore, and picked up an internship with a Kansas City-based software developer as a junior. While his peers picked up summer jobs at fast-food joints, DeLoach was working full-time in the same field he will begin studying in college next year.
It’s no surprise, then, that DeLoach takes a scientific approach to his work in the pool.
The senior will end his Manhattan High swimming career at the state meet in Topeka this weekend with a full load, swimming the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle individual races, as well as the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays.
“Jordan’s just a real cerebral kid,” Manhattan head coach Jerry Carpenter said. “He’s very smart, so he’s pretty fun, in that he understands on a cognitive level what he needs to do. He’s pretty scientific about things.
“You don’t have to convince him to do anything — he gets it.”
When it comes to academics, it helps that DeLoach’s father, Scott DeLoach, is a professor of computing and information science at Kansas State.
“My dad’s a computer science professor, and he’s always been very supportive of me taking classes,” Jordan DeLoach said. “I’m at the 300 level for computer science stuff.”
Computer science is what DeLoach wants to do, so any thought of collegiate swimming is off his radar at this point. Along with K-State, which doesn’t have a swim team, he’s considering the University of Texas.
“The University of Texas obviously has swimming, but they’re extremely good,” he said. “I’m not that good. And I’m looking at K-State, which doesn’t have swimming. So I’m not looking to swim in college, I’ll be done after high school.”
DeLoach has been swimming year round with the local club team, the Manhattan Marlins, since second grade. He is part of a select group of swimmers that compete year round and typically lead the high school team each winter.
“The guys that we had, a whole group of them, really bought in to training year round,” Carpenter said. “That made a huge difference, and Jordan was one of the guys that helped get them to commit to swimming year round.”
Since last year’s state appearance, DeLoach has been working even harder to improve his times and get stronger. He’s started lifting weights, while also watching video to see where his needs for improvement are the greatest.
“I’m really happy I get to do it again, because last year I was able to get a pretty good time, but now I want to go further and move up on the list,” he said. “It’s really cool to come back and do it a second time, and to have the experience of swimming individually in prelims and finals.”
Last year, DeLoach was Manhattan’s lone qualifier in an individual event other than diving. Swimming the 500-yard free, DeLoach finished in 13th in both the prelims and finals. This weekend at state, DeLoach has the best chance to finish in the top 16 during Friday’s prelims to make the finals on Saturday.
“We’re sitting pretty good in all our events,” Carpenter said. “Jordan’s definitely got a chance to swim again on Saturday. He’d obviously like to push to the top eight and get in the championship heat. There’s a lot of fast swimming though, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
DeLoach’s goals are similar to Carpenter’s expectations.
“At the 200, I’d like to break 1:50,” DeLoach said. “Right now I’m sitting at a 1:51.0. I’d like to go 1:49 or something, I’d like to have great relay splits. I’m not really sure how the 500 will turn out. I’d really like to break five minutes. Last year I was 5:05.”
Joining DeLoach at state will be Brett Bandy, who qualified in the 100-yard butterfly with a consideration time.
“I think Brett is ready to go faster in the fly,” Carpenter said. “He swam pretty well at league, but he’s a big muscle guy, and he takes a little longer to get completely rested.”
Manhattan will also take diver Evan Olson, who missed the finals at state a year ago and finished 20th. Manhattan will also take all three of its relay teams to state.
Since DeLoach qualified in two individual events, Carpenter can only swim him in two of the three relays, meaning junior Cameron Beauregard will swim the back stroke in the medley relay.
“Typically, we swim (Beauregard) in the 200 free and the 400 free, but in this case, David Woods is really coming on and swimming really fast, so we’ll swim him free and swim Cam back, then we’ll have Levi doing breast and Brett doing fly. That’ll be a fast combination.
“Then we’ll do Cameron, David and Jordan and Brett for the 200, then Cam, Jordan Brett and Levi in the 400.”
Carpenter said his team is fully rested and ready to go for the weekend.
“This is the time of year they really like, when we taper and the volume is way down,” he said. “We’ve been doing a lot of speed work, really working on sharpening starts, turns, trying to get everything clean. They’re ready to go. They’re full of energy and hopping around.”
The state meet begins today with diving prelims with swimming starting Friday morning at 10 a.m. Gates at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka open to the general public at 9 a.m.