After weeks of tough practices without any external competition, the Manhattan High boys’ swimming and diving team got back into the swing of things Wednesday afternoon at the KSU Natatorium.
With nearly 70 points separating the Indians from second-place Olathe South and third-place Olathe North, it was a good day.
Manhattan won the meet with a 348 team score, with Olathe South (278.5) finishing just half a point ahead of Olathe North (278). Junction City took fourth (251.5) and Great Bend finished in fifth (180).
Manhattan head coach Jerry Carpenter said this meet almost always shows significant progress from the first semester’s times.
“This meet — you always see kind of a springboard effect, where some kids have gotten some really good training in over break,” Carpenter said. “So we had a lot of kids that were swimming strong and dropping some times, which is excellent.”
Manhattan swept all three relays and won four individual events to bolster its team score.
Individual winners included Cameron Beauregard in the 200 free (1:53.98) and the 100 breast (1:05.43), Xavier Hayden in the 100 fly (1:02.88) and Evan Olson in diving (198.00).
Other top five finishes included Nick Clark in the 200 free (4th, 2:12.27), Matt Bandy in the 200 IM (2nd, 2:14.01) and 100 breast (3rd, 1:09.21), Tre Gilmer in diving (2nd, 161.25), Trey Hafen in the 100 fly (4th, 1:11.04), Ben Spielman in the 100 free (3rd, 55.43), Casey Hoffman in the 500 free (5th, 6:04.48), Derrek Williams in the 100 back (3rd, 1:09.43), Bandy in the 100 breast (3rd, 1:09.21) and Hayden in the 100 breast (4th, 1:13.63).
While his top guys are currently swimming tired because of the practice volume this time of year, the guys just below them have continued to improve to provide the team with depth, which was the difference in Wednesday’s meet.
“That tier of guys has started to step up, which we really needed,” Carpenter said. “Unfortunately we’ve got some guys that are a little bit injured today — we missed some guys that provide depth for us. Casey Hoffman and Trey Hafen have never swam the 500, well they swam it today because they knew we needed some people to swim it, and they get fifth and seventh, so they score 17 points for us. That’s 17 points we wouldn’t have had.”
In the relays, Manhattan was solid, with the team of Tyler Belin, Bandy, Hoffman and Williams taking first in the 200 medley relay (1:55.81). In the 200 free relay, the team of Beauregard, Hayden, Williams and Spielman also won (1:38.24), with the 400 free team of Bandy, Hayden, Spielman and Beauregard finishing the day with a win (3:40.32).
“The guys in the top lanes right now are swimming really tired,” Carpenter said. “We really hammered it over break, and Monday we swam real hard, so they’re tired. But I liked the way they raced and the way they were competing.
“After the first four events, we were in second place, and that got their attention, but we had a really good back half of the meet. After diving, we swam well.”
While Manhattan had numerous swimmers drop times Wednesday, the most impressive came in the 500 free by Tahir Gadimov.
“He swims the 500 free, volunteers to do that before break, goes 8:18 or something,” Carpenter said. “Well he decided he wanted to get better at that, so he’s been really working at practice, and he drops 1:03 in his 500. A minute. That’s incredible — we’re talking that’s six seconds per 50 faster, and that’s huge.”
Other significant drops included Clark in the 200 free (-2.33), Oscar Serrato in the 50 free (-1.80), Hafen in the 100 fly (-3.18), Mitchell Toetz-Pearsall (-6.23), Andy Grenier (-1.80) and Serrato (-4.68) in the 100 free, Gadimov in the 500 free (-63.43), Mark Buckwalter in the 100 back (-2.03), Michael Everett in the 100 breast (-2.87).
“The thing that I really like to see is when kids — when it clicks in their brain, the correlation between the work that they’re doing and how it pays off,” Carpenter said. “A lot of them have really started to become very focused at practice and they’re understanding what they need to do to get better.”
Manhattan swims again at home next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., with Emporia on the schedule.
“What it says on the schedule is it’s a dual with Emporia, and I thought Newton and Seaman were coming, but on the last schedule I got it only said Emporia, so I’m waiting on confirmation,” Carpenter said. “In a situation like that, we’d have guys swimming some different things and mixing it up a little bit.”