Swim season starts off strong

Lasirra Hines, Entertainment Editor

The Manhattan High Girls Swim and Dive team took third place with a total of 390 points at the Salina South Invite last Thursday. The team was supposed to also compete at the Shawnee Mission South Invite last Tuesday, however it was cancelled.

Senior Sydney Hicks finished first in the 100-yard freestyle and second in the 50-yard freestyle, sophomore Paige Chauncey finished second in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 100-yard breaststroke, Senior Talia Francois finished second in the 200 individual medley, sophomore Avery Inman finished second in the 500 freestyle, sophomore Soledad Rodriguez finished third in the 100 butterfly, sophomore Audrey Conley placed sixth in the 100 backstroke. Inman, Francois, Hicks and Chauncey finished less than a second behind the first place team in the 200 freestyle relay. Inman, Hicks, Francois and Audrey Conley finished third in the 200 medley relay. Rodriguez joined Conley, Chauncey, and junior Meredith Graves for the 400 meter freestyle relay.

The 2019-2020 season was cancelled last year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The team had been impacted with missing an entire season of swim. Some seniors didn’t get to have their final season of swim, while newcomers missed out on their first season.

“We missed a whole year of swim,” senior Tori Neilson said. “I do swim for like meeting the people and hanging out with everyone, and I didn’t get to do that.”

The team would typically practice at the natatorium at Kansas State University, but due to it being closed, they travel to Wamego by bus.

“It’s quite different, we get out early, and it’s just harder to travel that far,” Francois said. “But I think we’ve been doing good for our circumstances.”

This season isn’t completely different compared to previous years, with the exception of the mask mandate and the social distancing. The competitors would usually be able to be out near the pool, but are now required to stay in a gym and wait to be called out.

“Only three people can cheer in a lane, but we made sure that teams that weren’t getting cheered on, everybody would go [cheer] for them,” Neilson said.

The goal for the team this year is to qualify for State and defend their league title they won back in the 2018-2019 season.

“Our goal this year really is to have as many good swims as we can, qualify as many people to State as possible, and defend our league title we won in 2019,” head coach Alexander Brown said.

The next meet is the Topeka High Invite on Wednesday.