After Alisha McKnight dropped five seconds from her 50-yard freestyle time, taking 35th place with a 34.94, Manhattan head swimming and diving coach Alex Brown wanted to see if she also could drop time in her next event, the 100-yard freestyle.
McKnight’s heat, where she dropped 17 seconds and recorded a time of 1:23.62, ended up being the last race of the day.
The Indians finished first with 158 points in a weather-shortened showdown between Centennial League foes Seaman, Topeka High, Shawnee Heights and Topeka West. This was Manhattan’s first win of the year.
“Even with the limited races, we were pretty happy,” Brown said. “We had a lot of best times.”
Senior Kelly Wichmann finished in first place and qualified for the state meet her first 200-yard individual medley of the season with a time of 2:21.86. Jennifer Nelson also finished fourth with a tme of 2:55.02. Nelson, a junior, also came in second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:23.50.
Lauren Cassou and Lauren Casper came in first and third in the 200-yard with times of 2:14.14 and 2:30.76, respectively. This was Casper’s first-ever 200 free.
Holly Randall came in second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.17, and Blaise Hayden finished right behind her in third with a 27.55. Grace Walker took fifth in the event with a time of 29.09.
“The 50 free was a good event for us,” Brown said. “Lots of girls dropped time there in their open 50s.”
The 200-yard medley relay of Wichmann, Randall Cassou and Hayden kicked off the meet with a first-place finish and a time of 2:00.82. The relay of Nelson, Tarryn Lancaster, Emma McCarthy and Elise Funk came in fifth with a time of 2:19.88.
Brown feels the win will help motivate the team. He said the girls are buying into a new workout philosophy where they practice at race speed.
“In general, they’re definitely adapting to our training,” Brown said. “It takes a while. It’s not something you can do in the first few weeks. You’ve got to have your body ready for it. The last couple weeks, we’ve really been able to hit the race pace training a lot harder.”
Manhattan returns to its home pool on Monday to face Emporia and Hays.
1. Manhattan 158, 2. Seaman 135, 3. Topeka High 106, 4. Shawnee Heights 87, 5. Topeka West 34.
200-yard medley relay — 1. Manhattan 2:00.82, 5. Manhattan 2:19.88. 200-yard freestyle — 1. Lauren Cassou 2:14.14, 3. Lauren Casper 2:30.06. 200-yard individual medley — 1. Kelly Wichmann 2:21.86, 4. Jennifer Nelson 2:55.02. 50-yard freestyle — 2. Holly Randall 26.70, 3. Blaise Hayden 27.55, 5. Grace Walker 29.09. 100-yard butterfly — 2. Jennifer Nelson 1:23.50.