The Manhattan High girls’ swimming and diving team got the chance to compete against one of its toughest league foes Monday afternoon at the KSU Natatorium.
The Indians came out on top, scoring 238 points to take first ahead of Emporia, which scored 209. Hays took third in the triangular meet with a 74.
Manhattan head coach Jerry Carpenter said the league title will most likely come down to Manhattan, Emporia and Washburn Rural, so Monday’s results were encouraging.
“I thought we raced pretty well, we were just a little flat,” Carpenter said. “But it’s certainly given us an indicator of what the league’s going to be like. We didn’t have all our girls in their best places. We had some people swimming some different events.”
Each of the three teams had to deal with swimming on a Monday, with the state music festival dictating when teams can compete this week, pushing this meet forward by two days.
“Especially with the Easter weekend, we had some kids that left town to go with family on Friday,” he said. “So some of the kids hadn’t been in the water since Thursday, and here we are racing on Monday.”
Manhattan won seven of the 12 events, while using its depth to push ahead of the Spartans in the team standings.
Manhattan’s top event was the 200 free, with Amanda Buckwalter taking first (2:04.87), Alana Bucholtz taking second (2:11.23) and Emma Bartlett taking third (2:18.01).
“It’s encouraging, in the 200 free, we go 1-2-3,” Carpenter said. “We had a lot of events where we clustered them right in there. But when we were 2-5-6, Emporia was 3-4. So it’s a challenge. We’ll have to be on our A game at the end of the season. I don’t know for sure what Washburn’s got, but they’re good.”
Other event winners included Kelly Wichmann in the 200 individual medley (2:24.82) and the 500 free (5:42.18), Bucholtz in the 100 back (1:05.45), Buckwalter in the 100 breast (1:16.45).
“Amanda Buckwalter swam the 100 breast, that was just to see what she could do — she ended up winning it, but that’s probably not in her future for us,” he said. “She’s a dominant 500 freestyler.”
The Indians also got wins in both the freestyle relays, while taking second in the medley relay.
Carpenter said he is still searching for the right events for each of his athletes.
“It’s like a puzzle, we have to figure out how to create the strongest lineup,” he said. “We’ve got some kids that are pretty solid in the sprints, but are also pretty decent in other events. So we need them to swim some events that wouldn’t be their first choice.”
Looking forward, Manhattan has more than a week before its next meet, which will include six teams at the KSU Natatorium on April 30.