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MHS swimmers ready for state meet

By Grant Guggisberg

The Manhattan High girls’ swimming and diving team doesn’t have enough qualifiers to make noise in the team standings at state this week, but head coach Jerry Carpenter is expecting big things from the group that made the state cuts.

After the Centennial League meet last weekend, Manhattan had all three relays qualified for state as well as a pair of divers and Hannah Funk in the 50 free. Joining them on consideration times today will be Mariah Scipio in the 50 free and Alana Bucholtz in the 100 back, while Funk will add the 100 free.

“In the team race, we don’t have enough people to be gunning for a top team position,” Carpenter said. “But I think our relays have a good shot at advancing, and the individual events have looked really good this week, so it just depends how we swim (today). I think Hannah is really ready to go this week.”

Based on seeds entering Friday’s state meet inside Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium, Manhattan’s relays have the best opportunity to advance among swimming events. Samantha Gray took 14th in Thursday’s diving prelims, with a score of 221.45. Teammate Tara Schroller did not make today’s finals.

“They’ve been diving really well,” Carpenter said. “I think Samantha (Gray) has a great chance to finish in the top eight.”

For Funk, a senior who will do the most individual swimming, seizing the opportunity to compete against the state’s best is exciting. She joins Makayla Walters and Katarina Zdolsek among seniors swimming this weekend. Funk has not had the chance to swim individually at state in the past.

“I made it last year, but I was in Hawaii so I didn’t get to swim,” Funk said. “I’m really excited, and I’m nervous. Every time I think about it, my heart beats really fast, but I’m really excited about it.”

Each of Manhattan’s three relay teams is seeded to finish top 16, with the 200 freestyle relay entering with Manhattan’s highest seed at 11. The 400 free relay is seeded 13th, while the medley relay is seeded 16th. Funk said the chance for all three relays to swim on Saturday is gratifying after a long season of hard work.

“A lot of our girls have been tapering, so I think we’ll drop a lot of time (today) and Saturday,” she said. “And all three of our relays made it, and that’s a big deal. We’re all really pumped about that.”

After a league meet that didn’t go the way he hoped it would, Carpenter said some minor adjustments have been made and everyone should be good to go for the weekend.

“We had more miss than hit at the league meet, which was kind of puzzling to me,” he said. “There’s a lot of circumstances that would take a long time to explain that affected some things. It wasn’t for lack of effort. But they were so amped up and focused on times and taking people out, they were just a little sloppy on some things. They weren’t holding their stream lines as long, they weren’t turning as well as they can because they were so intense about getting off the wall and catching somebody.

“So we cleaned some of those things up.”

Carpenter said he likes the chances of his relays to drop times at state.

“I’m pretty confident with our chances there,” he said. “We should go faster in all the relays by quite a bit.”

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