Hosting its biggest meet of the season, the Manhattan High boys’ swimming and diving team had a good day in a crowded K-State Natatorium on Saturday.
The Indians finished second with a team score of 324 behind first-place Maize with 376 points. Rounding out the top five in the field of 20 teams were Wichita Heights (240), Wichita Collegiate (190) and Hays (170).
“It’s a strong field of teams, so to finish second is good,” Manhattan coach Jerry Carpenter said. “Maize is very good, they’re a good quality team that’s deep, so I felt pretty good. We were 52 points away from them and that’s not bad.”
Individually, Manhattan won just one event, with Evan Olson, who is already qualified for state, winning the diving portion Friday night with a 378.9. All of Manhattan’s divers did well, with Nathan Mirts taking third, Carter Nelson taking fifth and Tre Gilmer finishing in seventh.
“(Olson) dove really well Friday night,” Carpenter said. “Everybody did.”
The day was particularly good for Jordan DeLoach, who made the state cut in both the 200 freestyle (1:52.87) and 500 freestyle (5:10.01) on Saturday, finishing third and second in the two events, respectively.
The Indians also had several swimmers just miss the cutoff times for the state meet, while falling earning consideration times for selection to state.
“They want to have full heats, so if the number of entrants is not divisible by eight, they’re going to add whatever number they need to get that full heat,” Carpenter said. “So if you get 25 automatic qualifiers, they’ll add the next seven fastest times entered, and you can only add those times if they’ve got that consideration time.”
Cameron Beauregard in the 200 individual medley (6th, 2:13.92) earned that distinction, along with Brett Bandy in the 50 free (6th, 24.00) and 100 fly (3rd, 58.74). The 200 freestyle relay team of Bandy, DeLoach, Beauregard and David Woods (2nd, 1:37.07) is also on the cusp.
Other top-10 finishes included Levi Jones (6th, 1:11.24) and Matt Bandy (9th, 1:13.24) in the 100 breast, as well as the 400 free relay team of Brett Bandy, Beauregard, Jones and DeLoach (4th, 3:35.13), which already met the state cut time earlier in the season. In the 200 individual medley, Jones (8th, 2:19.09) did well, and in the 100 fly, Riley Ratliff (7th, 1:02.49) had a solid day. In the 500 free, Jack Hubler-Dayton (9th, 5:49.98) and Zane Hayden (10th, 5:52.25) landed in the top 10. The 200 medley relay team of Austin Sibal, Jones, Ratliff and Woods finished seventh in a time of 1:56.34.
“Across the board, we swam really, really well,” Carpenter said. “Some of the top level guys aren’t completely rested yet, so they weren’t popping as many times. But all the kids that we rested responded really well. We want them to feel what it’s like to go through a taper and be rested for a meet, and they did well.”
Carpenter divided his large team into four separate squads so all his kids could swim. This allowed them to swim events they wouldn’t necessarily always get to swim, as well as creating some large time drops.
Among those with a time improvement of more than four seconds were Jack Hubler-Dayton (-8.80), Zane Hayden (-5.71) and Gabe Saber (-14.71) in the 200 free, Saber (-4.95) in the 100 fly, DeLoach (-9.35), Hubler-Dayton (-13.48) and Hayden (-6.76) in the 500 free. In the 100 back, Tyler Belin (-9.78) and Brady Kiracofe (-7.98) had big drops, while in the 100 breast, Florian Wirsen (-4.38), Gardner Blanck (-7.25), Shun Messer (-8.37) and Bryan Armbrust (-16.38) all saw solid improvement.
Manhattan travels to Topeka for the Centennial League meet this week, with the state meet the week after, Feb. 14-16.