The sky's the limit for the McPherson High School boys swimming team.
Fresh off an Ark Valley Chisholm Trail championship, the Bullpups have placed in the top three of every tournament they’ve entered this season, including first-place finishes in the Salina and Manhattan Invitationals.
The Bullpups started the season with five straight second-place finishes. This is a team that has been right up there against some of the best competition the state of Kansas has to offer. With all that in mind, head coach Matt Morrow is feeling good heading into the Kansas State Swimming and Diving Championships in Topeka this Friday and Saturday.
“I really think we have a chance to make the top 10 in team scoring if we can hold or improve on our seedings,” Morrow said. “Our 200 medley relay team and 400 free relay are sitting nice to make it to the finals on Saturday, which will be a first time for the team since I’ve been coaching.”
Carson Stone and Eric Gaeddert return from a 200 medley relay team that made the state tournament last season. The addition of Dawson VanGoethem and Will Powers turned out to be a deadly combination, as the relay team broke the school record last Saturday at league. The new mark of 1:44.37 was good enough for the No. 6 seed.
In the 400 freestyle relay, Gavin Soukup replaces Stone and those four also had a big showing at league to propel them to a No. 6 seed. The 400 freestyle relay team took second place with a season best 3:26.81.
Even with a slightly smaller roster than last year, it’s a safe bet the Bullpups will finisher higher than 19th. The Bullpups have youthful swimmers, and a few upperclassmen with state experience leading the charge.
“Eric is seeded seventh in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, so we are looking at him swimming on the finals on Saturday; this is Eric’s fourth state meet, and last year he brought home fifth and sixth place medals so he’s been here before,” Morrow said. Gavin has to move up a couple of spots to get into Saturday in the 200 freestyle, but this being his third year as a state qualifier he knows what to expect.”
But even with dependable upperclassmen leading the way, it’s been the freshman phenom who has stolen the show.
“Will Powers is our highest seed in the 100 backstroke at No. 6; he is also seeded 10th in the 500 freestyle,” Morrow said. “Will only swam the 500 twice this year so we will be working on race strategy this week to try and get him in the finals.”
VanGoethem is the No. 13 seed in the 50 freestyle and the No. 17 seed in the 100 freestyle. The top eight times on Friday move on to the finals on Saturday; nine through 16 race on the consolation side.
Action at state gets underway at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Topeka-Capitol Federal Natatorium.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.