Manhattan High swimming coach Jerry Carpenter couldn’t hide his excitement on Monday.
After submitting a couple different times for consideration for the Class 6A state meet this week, both of Carpenter’s considered relay teams were selected for the meet, neither of which features a senior.
With that kind of youth going, Carpenter said they have the chance to gain some valuable experience.
“I’m excited that we are going to get a chance to have this group of guys swim again, because those are guys that will be back again next year, and it will be good for them to get the experience and go,” he said. “There will be some awfully fast swimming at the state meet and just to be in that atmosphere and jump in and run with them is good.”
The meet starts on Thursday with diving at Topeka’s Capital Federal Natatorium, followed by swimming on Friday. Diving finals will be Friday and swimming finals will be on Saturday.
Manhattan already had three qualifications locked in before getting the considerations for the relays, as Ryan Cady and Evan Olson were both qualified in diving and Jordan DeLoach had already made it for the 500-yard free.
The Indians got the last team in for the 200 medley relay and are ranked 23rd out of 24 teams for the 400 free relay.
Carpenter said despite the placements, he still thinks both teams have the chance to make a little noise.
“It ends up being pretty tight,” he said. “The medley relay, we were closer to consideration parameters than qualifying, so I knew it would be tough to get in, but we did.
“I always tell the guys if everyone goes a half second faster, we drop two seconds, so let’s see what we can do.”
With just one senior going in Cady, Carpenter said he likes the position that the diver is in, coming off an eighth-place finish a year ago.
“For him, I’m really excited that he is going in the position he has, because he has, at times, done really well this season. He is in a really good position to finish in a nice spot.”
Carpenter is even more excited for the opportunity for the sophomore diver in Olson.
“For Evan to be a sophomore and go in and see the atmosphere and see one of the best divers in the nation from Olathe Northwest, he can just sit there and learn and that’s fun,” he said.
Carpenter said with all but one of the guys going to state returning for next season, he thinks the team is in a good place already.
“It’s ideal because we are so young that they will get to see it,” he said. “Next year it will be just a given that we are going to state.”