Four Blue Jay swimmers are headed to the 6A Boys State Swimming and Diving Championship after a successful showing at last week’s Centennial League meet.
Junior Gabe Lamb, senior Jordan Jenkins, senior Nate Green and freshman Creytin Sanner are all headed to Lenexa on Friday to compete on the big stage for the first time. Jenkins and Green went to the meet last year as alternates but Lamb, who moved to Junction City this year, and Sanner will be experiencing it for the first time.
“They’re super pumped,” head coach Beth Schlesener said. “They’ve been improving all year and then, at the league meet when we qualified, you could just feel the excitement in the air. It was pretty great”
The four swimmers qualified in both of their relay races, the 200-yard freestyle and medley.
In addition to those two races, Lamb also qualified by just .01 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. He is the lone individual qualifier for the Blue Jays.
“Lucky for us, Gabe came to us with quite a bit of skill,” Schlesener said. “We’ve just been working on his stamina, his strength and helping him mentally get in the right mindset. He wants to get it done but it’s just a matter of doing it.”
The meet will be held at Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center in Lenexa on Friday. Finals races will start around 4:15 p.m. Due to Covid-19 safety concerns, spectators will not be allowed to attend.
The Blue Jays put up seven top-five finishes to go with an overall fifth-place team finish with 246 points along with recording personal best times in more than half of their races.
“68 percent of our races at league were personal bests which was great because we were just coming off a meet where we had 60 percent bests the week before,” Schlesener said. “For a lot of those guys, that was the final meet of their season and their career and for them to swim their best time is what the goal is.”
Washburn-Rural took first (386) followed by Manhattan (353), Topeka-Seaman (350) and Topeka-Hayden (273). Topeka High (173) finished sixth and Emporia (147) took seventh.
Lamb and Jenkins both earned All-League Honorable Mention honors after leading the way with multiple top-five finishes.
Lamb finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a final time of 23.22 seconds which was a drop of .64 seconds from his seed time. He also finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a final time of 52.12 which was .81 seconds faster than his seed time.
Jenkins had a career day, scoring all-time best times in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley. He took fourth in the butterfly with a time of 1:05.51 which was an improvement of .06 seconds and fifth in the medley with a time of 2:22.69 which was a jump up of 2.36 seconds from his seed time.
Both Lamb and Jenkins also competed in the Blue Jays two best relay teams. The 200-yard freestyle relay (Sanner, Green, Jenkins and Lamb) took second with a time of 1:36.49 which was an improvement of 2.46 seconds. The 200-yard medley relay team (Jenkins, Sanner, Lamb and Green) finished third with a time of 1:48.09 which was an improvement of 3.8 seconds.
Also notable was Sanner’s performance in the 100-yard breaststroke. The freshman finished fourth with a career best-time of 1:09.96 which was a 2.87-second improvement. Jerry Murray took 10th in the race with a time of 1:19.84. Murray also made a 10.81-second improvement in the 400-yard freestyle.
Anson Jacobsen had a season and personal best performance in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:14.71 which was a 7.62-second improvement. Jacobsen finished ninth.
Kaden Miller and Adrian Duarte took 10th and 11th overall in the 500-yard freestyle. Miller improved his time by 1.12 seconds. Miller (2:21.08) and Duarte (2:21.38) also took 11th and 12th.
Green turned in a career-best performance in the 100-yard freestyle with a 59.57 second, 13th place performance which was an improvement of 1.28
Lastly, juniors Aidan Gold (1:15.12) and Xavier Robles (1:21.46) took 11th and 14th respectively in the 100-yard backstroke.