As the girls’ swimming season begins to heat up, the Manhattan High swimming and diving team is continuing to drop times and stay atop the team standings in most meets it competes in.
With the Centennial League meet just a couple short weeks away, MHS coach Jerry Carpenter is ready to see just exactly what his team is capable of as the season winds down. If Wednesday’s victory in Manhattan’s six-team invite is any indicator, the Indians have good chances.
“This meet is always a good meet for us in that I feel like the kids’ conditioning is really starting to take hold and they’re feeling pretty strong,” Carpenter said. “So what you see is that our girls that are new — new to the sport — they’re dropping time left and right and swimming really well, which is exactly what we want to do. The girls that are more experienced are in the midst of their hardest training. They’re tired. But they swam reasonably well too.”
Manhattan won the meet with 501 team points, with Salina South finishing in second with 442 points. Garden City took third with 415, with Salina Central (393), Wichita Trinity Academy (248) and Junction City (185) rounding out the team standings.
Manhattan did have competition at the top of the medal stands in each event. The Indians won just one event, going 1-2-3 in diving, with Sam Gray winning (195.50), Tara Schroller in second (175.05) and Kristen Queen in third (155.00).
The Indians did, however, net six second-place finishes, with four more in third to bolster the team score.
Katarina Zdolsek took second in the 200 individual medley (2:32.93) and second in the 100 breast (1:19.30). Hannah Funk took second in the 100 free (58.02), while Alana Bucholtz took second in the 100 back (1:07.68) and third in the 100 butterfly (1:07.42). Mariah Scipio took third in the 50 free (26.51) and third in the 100 breast (1:20.30).
In the relays, Manhattan won the 400 free relay, with the team of Scipio, Makayla Walters, Bucholtz and Funk taking top honors in a time of 4:00.42. The team of Bucholtz, Scipio, Zdolsek and Funk took second in the 200 free relay (1:48.66), while the team of Madison Monaco, Zdolsek, Walters and Emily Cady took fourth in the 200 medley relay.
“We were missing a couple people today that were sick,” Carpenter said. “There’s some sickness going around the school, so we had to juggle some lineups with relays and make things work, but that’s just part of the game.”
Among the top time drops of the day were Monaco (-2.89) and Kelsey Crawford (-2.34) in the 200 free and Julie Golden (-1.87) in the 200 individual medley. In the 50 free, Kiera Vars (-2.30) and Jamie Steel (-3.38) swam especially well, while Amy Levin (-3.68) Shaylyn Hubbel (-2.20), Steel (-6.60) and Caitlyn Depew (-5.19) all saw drops in the 100 free.
In the 500 free, Emily Hendrick (-23.25) saw the biggest drop of the day.
With six teams total competing in the meet, Carpenter said the logistics of finishing quickly start to become a challenge, though having a separate pool for diving helps move things along.
“This is a pretty big meet for us,” he said. “With six teams, it’s a challenge. We have to run it pretty fast, and we end up starting back up while diving is still going on, so we were swimming and diving at the same time. So it gets a little chaotic.”
With league on the horizon, Manhattan will get its first look at the other contenders when Washburn Rural and Emporia come to town, though they may not be at full strength.
“I’m actually really looking forward to next Wednesday, when Washburn Rural and Emporia come in,” Carpenter said. “Now the question is, will they bring all of their horses? I don’t know.
“I think we’ve got a shot at the league title, but everybody is going to have to be on their game and be ready to roll.”
Manhattan travels to Great Bend on Friday before returning home the following Wednesday to host Rural, Emporia and Hays at the KSU Natatorium.