SALINA — McPherson and Andover Central are beginning to build a competitive rivalry in boys swimming. Last Tuesday’s Hutchinson Invitational went to Andover Central. Thursday’s Salina Invitational went to the Bullpups.

After five straight runner-up finishes to start the season, the McPherson High School boys swim took the next step forward with a first place team finish, headlined by two school records in the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay.

The Bullpups tallied 579 points, 100 more points than third-place Andover Central, while Derby finished in second place with 523 points.

“The meet format was a dual triangle so we actually won two meets in one,” head coach Matt Morrow said. “I wasn’t expecting to see Andover Central this meet, but was really pleased that we put together a great meet and first in both.”

Will Powers, Eric Gaeddert, Carson Stone and Dawson VanGoethem finished with a 200 medley relay time of 1.44.94, breaking the previous school record of 1:45.00 back in the 2008-2009 season.

Powers, VanGoethem and Gaeddert, along with Gavin Soukup, proceeded to break the record in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:28.97.

Powers also broke a new personal record in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:09.09. The freshman was also impressive in the 500 freestyle, with a time of 5:11.22. Morrow said that time would have been good enough for a top-10 finish at last year’s state championship.

After missing Tuesday’s meet, Gaeddert picked up right where he left off by taking first in the 100 breastroke, shaving nearly a second off his already state qualifying time.

VanGoethem finished second in the 100 free. Morrow said VanGoethem is continuing to grow stronger in that event.

Soukup improved his state qualifying time of 1:58.21 in the 200 free taking second in the process. He also placed third in the 100 fly at 2:09.09 — another state qualifying time.

And while the regular swimmers stepped up like they normally do, Morrow was most impressed with the deep contribution he received from everyone in the lineup.

“I have to say our top swimmers really stepped up and had a great meet, but the difference today came from our other guys,” Morrow said. “I need to give special mention to Simon Steinert and Abe Walker. Simon, who knocked 8 seconds off his 500 free time, then jumped in the next race for our B 200 free relay team to help them with an 8th place finish and 24 points, then swam a third consecutive event in the 100 back, placing 11th and finally one event to rest and he was back in the 400 free relay for our second team and help them with another 8th place finish. Abe had a similar stretch, swimming in three of the final four events to help out the team and score points. Other swimmers, Zach LeBlanc and Gage Stafford both helped out swimming some of the tough events and pulling in points for the team. That is the kind of sacrifice and commitment that makes me proud to coach this team.”

The Bullpups have a week off to get rested until they head to Lawrence High School next Thursday to compete against some of the bigger schools in the state. Lawrence, Topeka High, Olathe North, Shawnee Heights, Topeka West and Bishop Miege round out the order.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.