It would take a pretty special performance to surprise Shawnee Mission East boys swimming and diving coach Wiley Wright after 27 years at the helm.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
It turns out shattering four league records, scoring 409 team points and winning the Sunflower League Championship on Saturday did just the trick.
According to Wright, the score was the best for Shawnee Mission East in 18 years of Sunflower League competition, beating the program’s previous record by 50 points. Olathe East came in second with 274 points.
“This was probably one of the best meets I’ve ever been associated with,” Wright said. “Top to bottom, they swam out of their minds.”
SM East finished in the top three in 10 of the 12 events and won six of them: two relays and four individual titles.
Senior Benjamin Schmatz won the Lancers’ first title of the day with at 1:56.85 in the 200 yard IM. Later, he won the 100-yard breaststroke with a record-breaking time of 58.08 and was part of the record-breaking 400-yard freestyle relay.
Senior Peter Milledge edged teammate Zach Holbrook, winning the 50-yard freestyle with a Sunflower League-best mark of 21.53. Holbrook added a top finish in the 100-yard freestyle, and then he and Milledge, who also swam the 400-yard freestyle relay, contributed to the team’s 200-yard freestyle relay title. The Lancers also broke the record in that race with time of 1:26.72.
“The relays were spot on and then individually, everyone did amazing,” said Holbrook, who signed to swim at Iona College next season. “They did their part and more.”
The Lancers were not the only ones breaking records on Saturday. Lawrence Free State set a Sunflower League mark of 1:37.65 in the 200-yard medley relay and took third overall. The Firebirds also won four individual titles. Freshman Jordan Portela took the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, and senior Missouri State signee Canaan Campbell won the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke.
Shawnee Mission South junior Jackson Conrad, who won the Kansas Class 5A-1A state diving title last season, led the Raiders to a fourth-place finish with a score of 395.65 in the diving portion of the meet.
“Consistency was the main factor,” Conrad said. “That’s what I try to bank off most meets is the consistent dives and then not messing up and keeping your focus.”
Conrad dived three times in the finals with a front double pike, a reverse dive straight and an inward 1 1/2 tuck.
Olathe South came in fifth followed by Shawnee Mission North, Olathe North, Lawrence, Olathe Northwest, Shawnee Mission West, Shawnee Mission Northwest and Leavenworth.