As Shawnee Mission East boys swimming and diving coach Wiley Wright climbed out of the pool with soaking wet jeans and a big smile, he exclaimed to no one in particular: “I’m too old for this.”
In his 30th year with the Lancers, he could be aging out of the ceremonial jump into the pool, but Wright seems more than able to keep winning state championships like he did on Saturday. His Lancers edged Blue Valley North by four points for the Kansas Class 6A state title at the Capitol Federal Natatorium.
“From divers to swimmers I can’t be more proud of a team that has kept chugging all year,” Wright said. “It is a carbon copy of our season going down to the last meet and last event.”
The Lancers trailed by three points going into the 400-yard freestyle relay, and their seventh-place finish was enough to jump the Mustangs, who finished ninth.
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SM East accomplished the feat with just two individual titles. Freshman Aidan Holbrook won the 500 freestyle and senior Benjamin Schmatz took home the 100 breaststroke title.
“It is an honor to swim for him,” Schmatz said of Wright. “He has a magic about him that not many other people have.”
Although Blue Valley North fell short of the repeat, Ryan McMonigle helped the Mustangs take home three event titles. He won the 100 backstroke and contributed to pair of relay titles in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle. The 200 medley relay team’s time of 1:34.11 broke the state record set by Washburn Rural last year.
Jordan Portela led Lawrence Free State to a third-place finish by repeating in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. He also swam on the winning 400 freestyle relaywith 50 freestyle champion Jack Ziegler and was chosen Class 6A swimmer of the Year. Firebirds coach Annette McDonald was voted coach of the year.
Blue Valley Northwest’s Philip Musser was also a double medalist, winning the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle. The Huskies took fourth place.
“It feels amazing,” Musser said. “My walls were pretty solid and I was well prepared.”
The final local winner was Shawnee Mission South’s Jackson Conrad, who avenged a Sunflower League loss to Olathe Northwest’s Brant Pitcairn and took the diving title.
Class 5-1A: Fecteau wins third straight diving title
With two state diving titles already under his belt, Blue Valley West’s Daniel Fecteau set his sights even higher for his senior year.
He came in looking for the overall state diving record and fell just short, but had no trouble shattering the Class 5-1A mark with an 11-dive score of 533.55. The previous record was 460.45.
“Freshman year seems like a long time ago and I have definitely grown a lot,” Fecteau said. “Lots of ups and down and hard work, but it has paid off.”
Fecteau’s individual title helped pave the way for a third-place finish for the Jaguars. Wichita Heights finished first and Blue Valley Southwest took second.
“We had a rocky start yesterday, but they seemed to put it together today,” Blue Valley Southwest coach Arvel McElroy said. “I was pleased with how it all came together.”
The Timberwolves placed second in the 400 freestyle relay and third in the 200 freestyle and medley relays.
Defending champion Bishop Miege was seventh.