HUTCHINSON — If nothing else, the McPherson High School boys swim team is consistent.
Through five meets this year, the Bullpups have proven they can compete with the best schools in the entire state. Tuesday was no exception with the Bullpups finishing second at the Hutchinson Invitational, marking the fifth consecutive meet the Bullpups came up just short of first place.
Familiar foe Andover Central took first with 346 team points, while the Bullpups were a ways back in second with 291 points. The next closest team was Wichita Collegiate with 131 points.
“[Andover Central] has a really strong team with more numbers than us,” head coach Matt Morrow said. “This is the third meet we’ve been in with them; we beat them by eight points at Maize. They will be in our league championship this year, so we have that challenge ahead of us.”
The Bullpups were without senior leader Eric Gaeddert, who sat out due to Kansas State High School Activities Association requirements on the maximum number of meets a swimmer can swim.
Morrow said the addition of Gaeddert would have made the meet closer, but also notes it would have been an up hill battle to catch up with Andover Central even with Gaeddert.
Down a swimmer, Morrow was able to mix things up a bit, and give some new swimmers the chance to showcase their versatilely.
Race Reiman took first place in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:02.92 — a state qualifying time — while teammate Silas Steinert was right behind him for second place (1:05.43).
Three of the top four swimmers in the 500 yard freestyle came from McPherson High. Will Powers won the event by an entire five seconds, while Reiman and Simon Steinert finished third and fourth.
Powers, a freshman, also finished in second place in the 50 yard freestyle, and has now qualified for state in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 fly and the 200 individual medley.
Dawson VanGoethem took first in the 100 freestyle and third in the 50 freestyle. Gavin Soukup had a pair of fourth place finishes in the 200 freestyle and 100 fly, and Jori VanGoethem is headed to state in the 100 backstroke after placing third.
As a team, Dawson VanGoethem, Jori VanGoethem, Soukup and Powers placed second in the 400 relay with a state qualifying time of 1:51.89.
“We used this meet to get some guys in different events, so overall I’m really pleased with a second place finish.
The Bullpups dive back into the competition on Thursday in Salina. Salina South, Salina Central, Derby and Hutchinson Central Christian will all be there.
“We’ve not competed yet against either Salina squad, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up against them,” Morrow said.
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