SALINA — Justus Hampton had been flirting with McPherson's school record in the 200-yard freestyle for some time and was confident that before the end of his senior season it would be his.
He just hadn't expected it to come this soon.
Hampton not only claimed the school record, but also was part of three Salina South natatorium pool records Thursday as he helped lead the Bullpups to first place in the Salina meet.
"I wasn't planning on what I did in the 200 today," said Hampton, whose time of 1 minute, 45.59 seconds produced one of just three pool records for the Bullpups. "I was zooming just for the (McPherson) high school record.
"That was the last record my buddy Will (Powers) and I had left. Now the two of us have every school record."
Not only did Hampton break the school and pool record with his career best in the 200 free, but he also teamed with Will Powers, Matthew Powers and Rhys Vanderhoof to break the pool 200 free relay mark with a 1:29.75 and with the same trio in the 400 free relay to close out the meet with a record 3:18.57. Throw in a season-best 4:55.64 in winning the 500 freestyle and it was a pretty good day.
"For me to do that this early in the season is great," he said. "I got really hyped."
McPherson won seven of the 12 events to handily beat runner-up Derby and third-place Andover Central. With South and Central competing separately in their home meets, the Bullpups scored 470 points to 415 for Derby in the South division and 474 to 437 for Derby in the Central division.
Other individual winners for the Bullpups were William Powers in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and Matthew Powers in the 100 butterfly.
South and Central managed no better than third place in any swimming events — they had the top four marks in diving, led by gold medalist Isaac Frost — but both teams produced state qualifying times in the 200 free relay.
Central's Ethan Schulte, Mikel Perkins, Cooper Cobb and Nick Rost teamed up for third in their division with a time of 1:37.50, while South's Brian Taylor, Keegan Exline, Alex Linenberger and Kyle Iselin were fourth in theirs with a 1:38.18.
"It was very exciting for all of us," said Central senior Rost, who also placed third individually in both the 200 freestyle (1:53.37) and 500 free (5:19.83).
Rost also heralded the quality of competition in the meet, which also included Andover and Andover Central.
"It was very good for me, just to finally be beaten," he said. "It shows me that I need to work harder and be faster and keep working and pushing the team with me."
South's Iselin, a junior, added a third place in the 100 butterfly (59.77), but called the state qualifying time in the relay the biggest highlight.
"It was pretty exciting for everyone involved," he said. "It will give everybody the great experience of going to state.
"Personally, I didn't swim my best, but we faced a lot of good people here."
South had one other third-place finish, with Iselin, Taylor, Exline and Grant Osborn combining for a 1:50.61 in the 200 medley relay."