It has always been a busy summer for the McPherson Aqua Pups. As the Aqua Pups continue to showcase their swimming skills, they are the Great Plains Federal Credit Union Team of the Week, presented by the McPherson Sentinel.
"It was a pleasant surprise yesterday," Aqua Pups Head Coach Kyle Banman said. "We never had something like that show up for the Aqua Pups. I know the high school teams get the honors, but I think it's really neat to get us there with them.”
Not only Banman was surprised, but so were the parents after he put out an email blast the night before receiving the award. He gave the parent board a shout out for keeping the program going for all these years.
"The parents were pretty ecstatic about it. The parent board, especially. We kind of work as a unit, running this thing just like us coaches," Banman said. "The parent board has been supportive to us, so I want to make sure they got a bit of nod too because it's a bit of team effort with us guys and obviously all the families and volunteers that make this thing work each year. It's neat to get that acknowledgment for everybody. I was proud of that."
Banman had to start from scratch as some new swimmers were interested in joining the team. Even though there's not much depth compared to the last few seasons, Banman has been impressed by the newbies that are willing to learn and compete in meets.
"Our numbers have been down a bit, but the swimmers that we have this summer, I just have been impressed with the energy that they've brought,” Banman said. "We've had a crazy stretch of meets, necessarily a ton of kids in each of one of those meets. Our home meet was big. We had a lot of kids who were there and swam very well.
It's been neat to see from the growth from the ground up," Banman said. We've had a lot of first timers this year, and a lot of first-timers wanted to get in the competition right away, which that doesn't usually happen. This year they wanted to tackle it straight on. That's something we never had in a little while. That kind of goes with a flow a little bit each year."
Other than the dynamic performance from the high school swimmers such as the Power brothers of Matt and Will, Cody Achilles and Rhys Vanderhoof, Banman has also been amazed by his younger Pups, including the seven swimmers who took on the fly 2K challenge. Some of the younger Pups had been fighting to qualify for district during the event.
"What did surprise me was that we have a 12 and under students that did that. I never had that happen before," Banman said. "Denae Paine, she is 10-years old and just earned her first district time ever. She works her tail off every single day, which was well earned. So it didn't really surprised that she did it. Adyson Weins is another one that took on the fly 2K challenge, fighting for that 2K challenge with a district qualifying time. Luke Lockhart is another one who is a 12-year old boy. He surprised me in that as well. For someone to come, and he hasn't swum a full year yet, and to take on a challenge like that. I was really impressed by that."
The Aqua Pups have two more home meets beginning on Tuesday at the McPherson Water Park. After that, they travel to Lawrence for an invitational meet before the start of districts, which will be in Wichita.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page