Shawnee Mission East’s swimming and diving dynasty continues.
The Lancers repeated as Kansas 6A state champions Saturday at Capitol Natatorium, giving longtime coach Wiley Wright his 10th career title and eighth since 2005.
“These kids, it’s their goal to come back to state and win it again and again,” Wright said. “I have nothing to do with it. The kids want to be the ones to pass it on to the next year. I’m blessed and fortunate to be a part of the group.”
SM East won only one individual title — sophomore Aidan Holbrook took first in the 500-yard freestyle — but had three top-four finishes in the relays and at times had as many as four athletes score points in the individual events.
“It was a whole team effort and it took swimmers and divers to do it,” Wright said. “That’s why it’s swimming and diving. You combine those and we’re a pretty awesome group to go up against.”
The Lancers overcame a dominant effort from Blue Valley North, which won six events and finished second with 363 points, 21.5 behind SM East.
“I couldn’t be happier with our guys, we gave it everything we had,” Mustangs coach Derek Berg said. “State is about the number of bodies you can put in the pooI. I knew it was going to be hard (to finish first). We have a lot of fast guys on our team, but East sometimes has three guys in events to our one.”
After setting the state record in the 50 freestyle during Friday’s prelim, BV North junior Sam Disette won the event Saturday and claimed another state title in the 100 freestyle.
“I’m very pleased,” Disette said. “It’s a lot of hard work getting to this point. With the work I’ve been doing, and with the support of my teammates, that makes it so much better.”
The Mustangs won two relays and also received state titles from Will Vance in the 200 individual medley and Ryan McMonigle in the 100 backstroke.
Brant Pitcairn of Olathe Northwest obliterated the diving competition with 521 points, and Jordan Cowen of BV West won the 100 breaststroke.
Lawrence Free State junior Jordan Portela won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly to three-peat in both events. His time of 49.44 seconds in the 100 butterfly broke his own state record.
“At the beginning of the year I set some goals and I’m where I want to be right now,” Portela said.
Next season, Portela will go for four consecutive state titles in two events.
“That’s the dream, that’s the ultimate goal,” he said. “But there’s some pretty fast competitors out there. With another year of training we’ll see where I’m at.”
Bishop Miege senior diver Jacob Stockton didn’t plan on finishing second again.
Trailing by 6 points entering the final round with the state title on the line, Stockton executed one of the highest-scoring dives of the meet, winning the 5A-1A title following two years of being runner-up.
“My destiny has been fulfilled,” Stockton said. “After two years of second place, it feels amazing.”
Stockton’s final dive had the highest difficulty level of any dive of the day, but he pulled it off with ease.
“It was a hard dive, but I believed,” Stockman said. “I reached up high, tucked honest and kicked out strong.”
Stockton, who finished with 410.30 points, never stood atop the standings until the end. He entered Saturday trailing by 15 points, but performed at his best when it mattered most.
“I felt confident in all three of my dives,” he said. “I mentally pictured them in my head, calmed my heart rate and pulled them off.”
Mill Valley junior Mitch Willoughby finished second with 392.95 points.
Three other Kansas City athletes recorded top-three finishes Saturday. Anderson Maginn of St. James Academy took second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 backstroke, Garrison Fangman of Mill Valley placed third in the 100 butterfly and Lex Hernandez-Nietlin of Bishop Miege took third in the 200 individual medley.