EL DORADO — Defending Class 5-1A state swimming champions Maize was expected to swim away with the El Dorado Invitational on Saturday. If it wasn’t for McPherson High School, they would have.

The Bullpup swim team finished in second place with 447 team points, two less than first-place Maize. The Bullpups have now finished second at all four meets this year, but this performance may be the most impressive one of them all.

At the beginning of the year, head coach Matt Morrow wanted his team to embrace the motto “one more point!” Saturday in El Dorado was a prime example of why every point matters.

“I can’t really point at one event or swim that cost us those two points as we had some great swimming across the board from our top swimmers on down,” Morrow said. “We had some gusty swims by some of the boys in events that they hadn’t competed in before. Overall I’m really proud of the work they are putting in at practices, which showed today in some fantastic swims, and guys racing down the swimmer in front of them to score one more point!”

Maize and McPherson finished the tournament with a lengthy lead, with third-place Derby scoring 309 points.

The Bullpups were once again led by a first-place finish from the 200 medley relay team of Will Powers, Eric Gaeddert, Carson Stone and Dawson VanGoethem. The same four swimmers also finished second in the 200 free relay team.

Gaeddert won the only individual race for McPherson in the 50 freestyle, while also taking second in the 100 freestyle.

In the 100 backstroke, Powers, Silas Steinert and Rece Reiman finished second, third and fourth respectively, and were separated by three seconds. Powers and Steinert also finished third and fifth in the 200 individual medley

After a lengthy break, the Bullpups are back in action twice this week, at Hutchinson on Tuesday and Salina on Thursday.