As the calendar turns to February, the Manhattan High boys’ swimming and diving team is in its home stretch.
The Indians have just one more chance to drop their times and qualify for the state meet in two weeks. Manhattan coach Jerry Carpenter said swimming against tough competition, as his team did Saturday when it finished second at its 20-team home meet at the KSU Natatorium, helps bring out the best in his swimmers.
“Any chance you can get to swim against better competition, especially as you get toward the end of the season, it’s good,” Carpenter said. “We could swim at home meets and maybe not swim against teams that are as talented as we are, and have three of our guys in the top eight of every event.
“I mean, that’s good, it’s exciting for them, but it’s not really pushing us a whole lot. So for us to have to race just to get in the top 16, that’s a good thing. You raise the bar, and they jump.”
The Indian swimmers will face plenty of tough teams at the Centennial League meet this weekend, while also getting familiar with the Capitol Federal Natatorium, where the state meet is held. Carpenter said his team will be well-rested this week as the coach brings down the workload and begins to focus on the smaller details.
“We go through a process called tapering,” he said. “We basically go for our highest volume of training where we’re really hammering and they’re tired. The last several weeks, we’ve been hammering pretty hard. What you do, is you bring the volume of the work down and the type of work becomes more specific.”
Carpenter said the team will do anything it can to produce the season’s fastest times this week.
“We start doing more speed work, we focus on sharpening all aspects — turns, underwaters, starts, just to sharpen everything up,” Carpenter said. “As we rest and drop the volume and do more speed, their bodies respond, they feel good and they swim a lot faster. The guys at the state meet will shave their bodies down, the whole nine yards. It’s called taper and shave.”
All five of the returning state qualifiers from last year’s team have qualified again, including diver Evan Olson and the 400 freestyle relay team of Jordan DeLoach, Cameron Beauregard, Brett Bandy and Levi Jones. DeLoach is also qualified individually in both the 200 and 500 freestyle.
With several others on the cusp of reaching the state cut times, Carpenter is hoping some last-minute adjustments will be just enough to qualify more swimmers.
“We’ll be more rested then,” he said. “And we’ve picked up on some things. Sometimes at home meets, when we’ve got everybody swimming and have 50 guys out there and heats with seven Manhattan guys and we’re just rolling, you can’t always see all the details.
“At a meet like (Saturday’s) with 20 teams, there’s less Manhattan kids in each heat, you can watch them closer and see things. You can dial in on those things better.”
The league meet starts with diving on Thursday before the swim meet on Friday. Both days start at 4 p.m.