SMN 14th, SMNW 17th at Class 6A boys swimming and diving state championships
TOPEKA — The prelims of the Class 6A state meet gave the Shawnee Mission North boys swim and dive team a few tough pills to swallow, but the Indians did not let that affect them during the finals on Saturday at Capitol Federal Natatorium.
The Indians' 200-yard medley relay team of Clayton McMillin, Caleb Sostarich, Trey Smith and James Cameron had blown their own school record out the water in the prelims, but were disqualified due to an early relay exchange.
Cameron, Smith, McMillin and Luke Guthrie were able to make amends for the disappointment of the 200 medley relay in the 200-yard freestyle relay finals, as they clocked in with a fourth-place and school record time of 1:30.53.
"It was awesome," McMillin said. "I think that was the highest we've finished in a really long time. I'm happy we could pull out fourth in that."
The 200 medley relay was something positive that the Indians took away from the prelims, and they were determined to keep the good vibes flowing in the finals.
"It was just team energy. We were all hyped from yesterday because we broke our old school record by about a second. We just wanted to keep that ball rolling."
McMillin had some added motivation in the 100-yard breaststroke finals as well. The SM North senior narrowly missed making the consolation finals in the 100-yard freestyle with a 17th-place finish and wasn't thrilled with how he executed his race strategy in the 100 breast during prelims. McMillin bounced back in the finals to finish seventh with a time of 1:02.25.
"It felt really good. Yesterday I took it out too fast," McMillin said. "Today I kind of held back a little bit on the first 50 so I could come back stronger in the second 50. I really think that worked out better."
The 100 breast marked the final race of McMillin's career, and he felt good about it going out on a high note.
"It's awesome. This is a great way to end my high school career," McMillin said. "I don't plan on swimming in college or anything, so this is my last high school meet. It feels good."
While McMillin's time in the pool for the Indians came to a close, Sostarich joined him in the 100 breast and still has three more years ahead of him. Sostarich wrapped up his freshman season with an 18th place finish in the 100 breast.
Sostarich was less than a second away from cracking the top 16 for the consolation finals. Smith and Guthrie represented SM North in the consolation finals in their respective individual events and joined Rowan Jones and Cameron in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Smith placed ninth in the 100-yard butterfly after taking 12th in the prelims, while Guthrie took 15th in the 50-yard freestyle. Cameron, Guthrie, Jones and Smith closed out the meet for the Indians with a 12th-place finish in the 400 free relay.
The Indians placed 14th in the team standings. Shawnee Mission East won the meet for the fourth straight year.
SMNW's Klein lowers own school record in 50 free
After breaking the school record in the 50-yard freestyle at the Sunflower League meet, Shawnee Mission Northwest sophomore Scott Klein wanted to see how high he could set the bar for himself for the next two seasons at the state meet.
Klein has spoken highly all season long of first-year coach Ryan Lee for helping him and his teammates drastically improve, and that was apparent as the SM Northwest sophomore jumped into his coach's arms after tying for third in the 50 free with a personal-best time of 21.51.
"Oh man, I've dropped over a second this year," Klein, who earned all-state second-team honors, said. "It's just so amazing. It feels so good to keep lowering that time and keep breaking the record."
The sophomore standout was just getting started, though. Klein finished 14th in the prelims of the 100-yard freestyle to qualify for the consolation finals, and had himself speechless with his performance on Saturday. Klein bolted up the leaderboard to take ninth with a time of 48.24.
"I dropped almost two seconds in that race. It's just such adrenaline," Klein said. "That's a special moment right there. It feels good."
Klein's experience on Saturday was made that much better by the fact that he got to compete alongside his teammates rather than them watching. The Cougars qualified all three of their relays for state and had two of them return on Saturday for the consolation finals. Klein, Ben Harrell, Eric Gonzales and Matt Nolan clocked in at 1:32.73 to place 12th in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Klein, Harrell, Gonzales and Will Vanderbos finished 16th in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.98. Nolan, Harrell, Gonzales and VandenBos added a 21st-place time of 3:37.91 in the 400-yard freestyle.
"Last year we didn't even bring anything back (for the second day of state) except for me as an individual," Klein said. "So bringing back two relays, that was just so incredible for our team to do."
Before the dazzling day for the SM Northwest swimmers, senior Jaden Karnes sparked the Cougars with a 14th-place finish in the 1-meter dive.
The Cougars finished 17th in the final team standings.