Saving their best for last
With three individual events remaining in Mill Valley's regular season, Jeremiah Kemper was up first.
Starting off strong in the 500-yard freestyle, he started to slow in the middle of the 20-length race. Coach Dan Dervin signaled to Logan Schmidt, who was holding the lap counter board, to tell Kemper to speed it up.
Schmidt pumped his arm up and down quickly while holding the board. Kemper got the signal and started to pick up the pace.
Dervin and assistant coach Kirsten Crandall nervously kept their heads on a swivel watching Kemper and the clock.
Kemper was on his final lap as the clock ticked.
Finally, Kemper touched the wall in 5:44.02. He qualified for the state tournament besting the time needed by four one-hundredths of a second.
“This is only the second time I’ve swam the event,” Kemper said. “I knew the guy beside me (Lansing’s Zachary Crumpacker) qualified. So my goal was to keep up with him, keep pace. He beat me, but I kept up with him pretty well and snuck it in.”
Next up was Will Dervin, Dan Dervin’s son, who placed his hands on the block bars, put his feet on the edge of the wall, and curled his body toward the block.
The beep sounded and Dervin was off in the 100-yard backstroke.
“I’d never done this before a race, this is the first time I did it,” Will Dervin said. “It’s not about any of the other guys, it’s about me racing the clock. I had that mindsight.”
Dervin, needing a 1:04.97 to qualify for state, touched the wall in 1:04.51. He looked at the board, seeing his time, and cracked a smile. He knew he had qualified for state.
“I never thought I’d make (state),” Will Dervin said. “My stroke, I knew from last year, I needed some major help. I’m happy.”
Dervin was out of breath after he jumped out of the pool.
The last individual event of the Kaw Valley League Championship was the 100-yard breaststroke.
Garrison Fangman needed to drop 57 hundredths of a second to qualify for state.
Dan Dervin told Fangman before he took his position on the block to “elbow your brother, phone your mother,” as a way to remember to have strong pulls.
Fangman heeded Dervin’s advice, touching the wall in 1:12.00, which was the second time he had swam the event this year.
The three will join Chris Sprenger, Brenden Shutt and Chase Midyett on the state team with Schmidt, Brennan Teasley and Dan Thomas as alternates.
The Jaguars placed third in the league with 66 points behind Turner’s 93 and Lansing’s 84.
Sprenger helped secure 34 points with second place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard medley relay. The Jaugars won the 200-yard freestyle relay.
At state, Sprenger determined he wills swim the individual medley, but he’s still deciding on whether he’ll swim the 100-yard backstroke or the breaststroke.
“I’m definitely going to look at the competition and see which one I’ll place better in based on last year’s results,” Sprenger said.
At Turner on Tuesday, he was trying to bring his times down to help better his lane position next weekend in Topeka.
He brought his breaststroke time down by three seconds touching the wall in 1:06.33.
Dan Dervin was incredibly proud of Kemper, Will Dervin and Fangman for qualifying for state on their last possible day.
“I’d love to see us get some second-day swims,” Dan Dervin said. “Making it to state is a big accomplishment, getting to the second day is what you live for. I think we’ve got a shot in the medley (relay), we have a shot in the 200 free relay, and Springer will get it in the IM.”