When Manhattan High swimming coach Jerry Carpenter looked at the results through seven of 12 events on Wednesday in a six-team meet at home, he told his team it was going to be tight.
Enter Keziah McNair.
McNair asked to be entered into the 500-yard free and took fourth with a time of 6:45.15, shaving more than 36 seconds off her previous best in the event. Marlee Evans was fifth.
The Indians went on to win the meet at the Kansas State Natatorium with 544 points, while Salina South was second, Garden City was third and Salina Central was fourth.
“I said, ‘girls, this is going to be close, I only have one person in the 500 free,’ and Keziah came down and said ‘take me out of the 100 free I’ll swim the 500, I want us to get the points,’” Carpenter said. “She is a huge leader for us, and that’s fun when you see that because she walked right down here and said she wanted to swim.”
Wednesday’s meet was the first competition for the Indians since they completed their 100-100s training event last Friday. Carpenter said his team trained hard in the last two days of practice as well.
Carpenter said it appeared to pay off big time on Wednesday, as most of the athletes shed significant time off their previous bests.
“It was a good day for us,” he said. “Salina South beat us earlier, so we wanted to get that back, and we are really starting to see the training pay off. The thing that’s exciting is when we see time drops and we are still in the midst of our training.
“They are all swimming hard right now, and to come in today and a lot of kids are stepping up and dropping times, it’s phenomenal.”
The 100-100s mark the midpoint of their toughest stretch of training, which ends shortly before the Centennial League meet so that the athletes will be fresh by then.
Carpenter said what running those last Friday did, was build confidence for the rest of the year.
“I think what the 100-100s do, is it’s a workout that is intimidating from the outside, but they get in there and start doing 60 or 70, some doing 90, how ever many your interval will allow you to do — we had five girls do 100 — and all the sudden we have them get in their head, ‘well that wasn’t that bad,’” he said. “It gives them confidence and it springboards them.”
The Indians opened Wednesday’s meet by winning the 200 medley relay, with the group of Alana Bucholtz, Pilar Dritz, Makayla Walters and Mariah Scipio taking the title with a time of 2:03.74. The group of Madison Monaco, Lucienne Lange, McNair and Emma Bartlett took fifth.
Dritz was first in the 200 free with a time of 2:01.91, while Sammi Greiger was ninth and Brittany Jones took 11th. Meagan Williams took fifth in the 200 individual medley, shaving five seconds off her previous best, while McNair was seventh.
Scipio took second in the 50 free, while Hannah Funk was third and Walters was fourth. Katy VanNevel won diving with a score of 201.95 followed by Samantha Gray in second and Alyssa Sheff in sixth.
Scipio took second in the 100 fly and Bussman was seventh. Bucholtz finished second in the 100 free, with Funk in third and Bartlett in eighth.
The team of Scipio, Williams, Bartlett and Funk finished second in the 200 free relay. Emily Cady, Hanna Hayden, Katie Bussman and Sarah McCann finished sixth.
The Indians got a second-place finish from Dritz in the 100 back, while Bucholtz was third and Monaco was eighth. Walters took second in the 100 breast with Lange in fourth and Bussman in sixth.
Bucholtz, Funk, Walters and Dritz teamed to take first in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:56.40. McNair, Cady, Hayden and Anna Wille finished sixth.
The Indians will head on the road on Friday for a meet at Great Bend and they will return home next Wednesday for a meet.