Going into the winter break, Manhattan High swimming coach Jerry Carpenter said practice over break would be big as the team looks to improve for the month of January.
Practice appeared to pay dividends on Wednesday as the Indians opened the month up with a second-place finish at the Kansas State Natatorium.
MHS scored 334, while Olathe South was first at 388. Great Bend was third and Olathe North was fourth.
Carpenter said he thought the team competed well against a tough Olathe South squad.
“I knew coming in that Olathe South is a pretty solid team,” he said. “They were quite a ways up in the Olathe Invite, so I knew they would be tough. We’re about 50 points behind them and that’s not bad because they have a lot of state qualifiers already. I would say we competed well.”
The focus on Wednesday were the time drops for a number of the athletes, notably Levi Jones, who set personal records in wining the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breast.
Carpenter said Jones was a perfect example of the practices over break helping the swimmers improve.
“Kids like Levi Jones had good days today, and he won the IM and the breaststroke and had significant times in both,” he said. “He was at all the practices over break, and he has been working his tail off and getting stronger.
“I love it when kids learn that correlation between working hard and swimming fast, and there is no better lesson to learn in life than working hard and being rewarded.”
Carpenter said not all kids were able to spend time practicing over the break, but those who did not leave town spent a lot of time in the pool. And he said the whole team is practicing well right now.
“This time of year they always start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and they start to really get focused,” he said. “And we’ve had good practices because of that.”
Carpenter said the team also benefitted from not having a meet during the first school week of the new year.
The MHS coach said they were able to use that time to get everyone re-acclimated to regular conditioning.
“It is nice to have that week to kind of transition back in,” Carpenter said. “We got some really good training done over the Christmas break, and the guys that were in town greatly benefitted from it and we saw a lot of those guys have major time drops.
“The net effect is when those guys are faster, they are pushing the lanes and the other guys to go faster.”
The Indians opened the day with a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay from Jordan DeLoach, Jones, Brett Bandy and Ryan McHenry with a time of 1:56.19. Riley Ratliff, Edgar Chambers, Ben Bartlett and Zane Hayden took sixth.
Bartlett grabbed fifth in the 200 free, with Xavier Hayden in seventh and Ethan Schmidt in ninth. Bandy was second behind Jones in the 200 IM, while Zane Hayden grabbed fourth.
DeLoach took third in the 50 free with a time of 24.55. Jacob Biller grabbed 13th and David Woods was 14th.
Ryan Cady was first in 1-meter diving with a score of 224.40, while Bandy was second in the 100 fly at 1:03.34.
Cameron Beauregard was sixth in the 100 free and McHenry was ninth, while Bartlett was 10th. DeLoach took first in the 500 free at 5:21.83 and Zane Hayden was fifth.
Beauregard, McHenry, Bartlett and Clayton Bovee teamed for a fifth-place finish in the 200 free relay, and Cady, Schmidt, Scott Woods and David Woods were sixth.
Ratliff was sixth in the 100 back, with Beauregard taking seventh and Derrek Williams in eighth. Gray took fifth behind Jones in the 100 breast, while Ethan Chapman was in ninth.
DeLoach, Bandy, Beauregard and Jones were third in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:52.11. McHenry, Ratliff, Zane Hayden and Biller finished in fifth.