Swim starts their first two meets

Anika Nyp, Staff Writer

The usual cheers in the Hummer Park Natatorium were more quiet than usual when the Manhattan Boys swim team traveled to Topeka last Wednesday. Before any of the swim teams had shown up junior Zeke Kohl had earned second place overall in diving, scoring 174.15 points. 

I thought he did pretty well,” head coach Alex Brown said. “With no diving boards available he just wanted a chance to get on one, and to practice some.”

The Wamego pool doesn’t have a diving board for Kohl to maintain his practices like he had last year, so instead of practicing dive drills he has been swimming with the rest of the team and competed with them on Wednesday. 

It went really good. I was very happy with all our performances, and it was very fun. It was a good first meet of the season,” senior captain Chris Bedros said. “It’s the first year that we’ve all swam together in a relay and we lost a lot of seniors last year, and we’re just trying to get to know each other, get to know our finishes, [and] to know each other’s starts.” 

For social distancing reasons, the meet happened over two days. At the end, MHS placed fourth with 325 points. 

We didn’t have everything filled in. So there are some points that we weren’t able to score that normally we would have,” Brown said. “We looked a little rusty, which is to be expected in the first meet.”

Even though most of the swimmers had not competed since state last year, sophomore Mitchel Bunger had been placed in the top three in almost all of his events.

“Mitchell had a really nice meet. He’s been the only one that has swam since last February, doing some club stuff out in Alma during the summertime, so he had a pretty nice meet. He won the 200 and I think he was third in the 500. And then the relays he was on I believe finished second,” Brown said. “So his times are really good for this first meet ahead of where they were at this time last year so we just want to see him continue to improve on those and I think he got really big in the season for us.” 

Bungers main focus this year has been about improving his 500 yard freestyle and 200 yard freestyle to help him increase his endurance. 

“I hadn’t swam like over a 500 competitively since March. And it just felt really exhausting afterwards,” Bunger said. 

The team brought along some of the freshmen to the competition. The Wamego pool has been a  lifesaver for the team but the one thing they don’t have is starting blocks. The freshmen boys had to learn how to dive in during the warm up and the break. 

The freshmen are wonderful, the freshmen swam so well, so much better than I expected, like they did a really great job,” Bedros said. 

Even without the enormous pressure of just learning how to dive the boys also have not competitively swam in a long time. 

It was their first time ever racing, so that was always exciting even though it was very different from what we normally see at meets, and for some of them it was their first time racing in high school,” Brown said. “Some that had swam when they were younger, but just a different experience and we saw a lot of good things and a lot of potential from several of our kids.” 

In addition to the meet on Wednesday there was also one last Saturday in Lansing. 

“It was really fun,” Bunger said “I think we were more focused on having fun but the three relay meets are the three relay events that we could qualify for at state. We took it seriously and gave it our all and… we had at least four people medal.” 

The Lansing meet was a relay only meet and since it was such short notice the team only brought 11 people. 

It was less dependent on time and it was more like just for fun,” Bedros said. “It was really nice just like getting in the pool and swimming, but like no worries about what time we get or like cuts or anything like that.” 

The team got 6th with only 74 points but the team cared less about what place they could get and focused on working as a team.

We don’t have another meet for about a week and a half,” Brown said. “So, just looking forward to a week of getting some yardage in and some training and seeing where we can go from there.” said Brown.