Boys swim faces tough competition

Avery Inman, Staff Writer

The Manhattan High boys swim team competed in Lenexa on Saturday and faced some of the fastest athletes in the state. 

“It was a fast environment,” junior Mitchell Bunger said. “It was good to get a taste of that for the future meets at the end of the season.” 

Despite the intense competition, the team came out of the meet with good swims and Bunger medaling in the 500 free. He swam a 5:12.88 and placed eighth.

“My 500 felt good, I liked how I swam,” Bunger said. “I’m excited to see what more I can do with it…I know I can go faster and I’d like to keep dropping time.”

The 200 medley relay swam a 1:47.71 and finished 10th. Freshman Ethan Balman placed 11th in the 100 butterfly, going a 59.02. The 200 free relay swam a 1:36.95, placed 12th overall and qualified for State. 

“I thought overall we looked pretty solid today, a lot of people had seasonal bests and a few people had career bests,” head coach Alex Brown said. “We’re just passed the midway point meet wise so we hope that everyone can take this momentum and keep it going forwards.”

This meet was a great chance for the team to push themselves in a competitive environment and in a “fast” pool. 

“It was really, really fun, I enjoyed it a lot,” freshman Will Graves said. “We had good teamwork and good relays.” 

Graves placed 15th in his 200 individual medley, swimming a 2:11.93, and placed 11th in his 100 breast, going a 1:06.07. 

“[My swims] were good, I cut time in everything,” Graves said. “Still working on getting those State cuts but I got a State cut in the 200 free relay, which was really great.” 

At this point in the season, it is clear to see that the team as a whole has come far since the first meet in December. The team placed 13th overall.

“Beyond just time improvements, our competitiveness has improved,” Brown said. “We’re really racing people and not just letting people beat us, and at a meet like this, where it’s insanely competitive, that’s important to have.”

The team followed that meet with a first place finish at a meet in Great Bend on Monday. The 200 medley relay placed second with a time of 1:56.39. In the 200 individual medley Bunger placed first and freshman Samson Staedtler took second place, and the two took second and third respectively in the 100 backstroke. Graves placed third in the 100 butterfly as well as first in the 100 breaststroke. Freshman Kaiser Wymer and junior Kolby Grogg placed second and third respectively in the 100 breaststroke. Both the 200 and 400 free relays took first place. 

The team next competes at the Emporia meet in Topeka on Saturday.