Boys swim compete in back-to-back meets

Avery Inman, Staff Writer

Kicking off their swim meets of 2022 the boys team competed in Topeka on Tuesday and in Lawrence on Wednesday. The lack of rest between meets led to some tough challenges. The team took third in Topeka and second in Lawrence. 

I was much happier with the second [meet], we were a little undisciplined at the first one,” head coach Alex Brown said. “We had some great swims from a lot of kids, I think our overall vibe was a little unfocused, I thought we were way more focused at the second meet than that first one.” 

With the rise of COVID cases the team had to work around not having some of their teammates. 

“People being sick [was a challenge], especially when they get sick at the last minute and we have to swap everything around, that’s always challenging,” Brown said. 

A highlight of every meet this season has been the 200-medley relay. Manhattan competes in this event with an all-freshmen relay team. The team went 1:47.94 in Topeka and 1:49.80 in Lawrence. Placing second and first respectively. 

“The medley relay is probably my favorite event,” freshman Ethan Balman said. “I’m so proud of that relay, we made it to State, and made a State cut every time we’ve swam it, [and] we’re trying to break the school record.”

These two meets were the first meets again since the beginning of December, and the first ones since winter break. 

“After break it didn’t feel good, and today [Wednesday] I also didn’t swim good because we had two meets in a row,” freshman Max Steffensmeier said. “I’m going to train [hard] and I’m going to be right back at it for the next meet.”

While it was hard to have extra time between meets, the more time for training helped with the success of many. 

Our JV kids having a lot more training under them and not being only two weeks into swimming, their times went really well,” Brown said.“There were tons of drops for them” 

The Varsity team had some good swims at both meets. In Lawrence, Balman went 59.40 in his 100 butterfly and 24.54 in his 50 freestyle. 

“I had really good mentality the whole time,” Balman said. “[Tuesday], I felt pretty good, today [Wednesday] I was a little worn out from yesterday [Tuesday].” 

Teammates junior Mitchell Bunger and freshman Will Graves competed against each other in the 500 free, with Bunger going 5:14.00 and Graves going a 5:15.52, placing first and second respectively. Along with his first place finish, Bunger also qualified for State in the same race at Lawrence. In Topeka the two competed against each other in the 200 individual medley, with Graves going 2:14.80 and placing third and Bunger going 2:15.74 and placing fourth. 

 I really want to improve on my 500 free and 100 breast,” Graves said. “I’m a second off a State cut in both of those.”

While these meets brought their fair share of struggles and challenges, the team worked hard and placed well individually and as a team.