Boys take third at league

Avery Inman, Staff Writer

On Thursday the Manhattan High Boys swim and dive team competed in Topeka at the Centennial League meet. This is one of the biggest meets of the season and the last of the season for most of the team. Going to the meet there were high hopes all around. The team had a good shot at winning and there were many chances for time drops, qualifying for state and medaling. A highlight of all swim meets are the relays. They offer the chance to really feel the team aspect of swimming.  

The all-freshman 200 medley relay started off the swim portion of the meet by taking first place, going a 1:42.82. The 200 and 400 free relays took third and second respectively, with the 400 qualifying for state.  

“Our medley was incredible, they dropped a ton of time, and I was blown away with how fast they swam,” head coach Alex Brown said. “The free relay did a nice job, we had a couple of guys that do not normally swim on it, they bumped up and they swam hard and that’s the reason they melded, and the 400 capped it off well, easily getting their state cut.” 

Starting off the meet was the dive competition. Senior Zeke Kohl placed second overall and will be heading to state next week.  

“I felt like [my season] was pretty good for the lack of practice, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the past few years, but I feel like I’ve made the most of it,” Kohl said. “Today wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst, my dives were looking good enough but not super great, I got second behind a good kid, I’m not ashamed of anything that happened today.” 

The entire swim team saw time drops as well as seasonal and personal bests. The varsity team especially had some amazing swims. In the 200 free junior Mitchell Bunger placed 2nd going a 1:50.80 and freshman Kaiser Wymer placed 6th with a time of 2:04.71. Freshman Max Steffensmeier took second place going a 2:09.89 in the 200 individual medley. In the 50 free freshmen Sam Staedtler and Ethan Balman placed third and fourth with times of 23.60 and 23.70 respectively.  

“I was so happy with my individual events,” Balman said. “I dropped so my time and they just felt amazing.”  

Balman placed third with a time of 56.78 in the 100 butterfly, he also qualified for State. In the 100 freestyle Staedtler took fourth place, going 52.89. In the 500 free Bunger placed second and Will Graves placed third with times of 4:56.06 and 5:00.74 respectively.   

“I feel like we all got pumped up and swam our best we saw a lot of good times out there I really liked the energy,” Bunger said. “I’ve been waiting for solid time drops and I’m happy I finally got that, and it only solidifies my drive to keep training. At State I want to break my previous record in the 500.” 

Steffensmeier took third place in the 100 backstroke going a time of 59.66. Graves qualified for State in his 100 breaststroke swimming a 1:04. 65, as well as placing third.  

“Getting my state cut in the breast was the best,” Graves said. Dropping 10 seconds on my 500 was amazing and I hope to place in the top 10 at State.”  

Headed into State the stakes are high and the goals higher. The meet will be a chance for the swimmers to break their own records as well as try and break some of the school records.  

“Our number one goal with the prelims on Friday is qualifying as many people and relays so we can come back for the finals on Saturday,” Brown said. “From that point just compete as hard as we can and try to put up as many points as possible.”