Today, the Great Bend High School swim team will be competing in the Kansas Class 5-1A Swimming and Diving State Tournament.
The tournament will be held at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.
The Panthers had 12 swimmers qualify for state, and Panthers head coach Steve Beaumont said that his team is ready for the challenge.
“We’re healthy and that’s the main thing,” Beaumont said of his team, which was fighting a flu bug during the start of the second half of the season. “They have no serious injuries. In terms of health, we are in pretty good shape.
“In practice, the kids have really good energy. They are swimming faster in practice, so hopefully that energy will carry over into state.”
Great Bend had swimmers qualify in the following events: 200-yard freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.
Freshman Justin Kuhlman is top seed among GBHS qualifiers, as he is the No. 3 seed in the 100 backstroke. Kort Cook is seeded No. 6 in the same event.
Beaumont said that he believes that his three relay teams have a good chance to advance to Saturday’s finals.
“I think that all three definitely have a chance to be there in the top eight,” Beaumont said. “It’s all about swimming faster now. If they swim well, I think they have a real chance to make it to Saturday.”
Kade Cook will represent Hoisington High School, the school he attends, because the Kansas State High School Association rules state that a swimmer must represent the school he attends at the state tournament.
The GBHS swimmer to encounter the toughest competition will be Josh Prescott in the 50 freestyle, according to Beaumont.
“Prescott in the 50 free is going to be tough,” Beaumont said. “That competition is pretty tight, and that race is very quick. If you knock off half a second, you could easily move up five or six spots.
“On the other hand, if you add half a second, you can fall five or six spots.”w
Prescott is seeded 22nd.
As far as the teams are concerned, Beaumont said that Blue Valley Stilwell and Salina South are the teams to beat.
“Salina South is always strong and there is a really good team coming from Blue Valley Stilwell,” Beaumont said. “(Wichita-)Kapaun Mount Carmel and Bishop Carroll are going to be a tough to beat.
“After those four, it’s hard to say. We could be anywhere in the top 10 after those four.”
Class 5-1A Swimming
& Diving State Tournament
At Hummer Park
Great Bend High School swimmers and state events:
Jonathan Baker — Alternate, 200-yard Free Relay; 200 Medley Relay
Kyle Bussen — 200 Medley Relay
Kade Cook (Hoisington) — 200 Free, 100 Butterfly
Kort Cook — 200 IM, 100 Back
Dylan Dreiling — 200 Free Relay, Alternate, 200 Medley Relay; Alternate 400 Free Relay
Nick Elliott — Alternate, 200 Medley Relay
Ky Heeke — 200 Free, 500 Free, 200 Free Relay, 400 Free Relay