There is nothing that can prepare the Great Bend High School boys’ swimming team for the Class 5-1A state swim meet.
Only the experience of actually being there can give those who qualified a full understanding.
For the six qualifiers from the Panthers’ swim team, some have that experience, and the rest will get some starting today.
“For our underclassmen, its good for them to see what it’s all about,” GBHS head coach Steve Beaumont said. “They’ve seen swim meets, and some of them have seen big swim meets with the summer program, but nothing quite compares to this.
“Four of our kids have been before, and that definitely helps. You can tell a new kid what to expect, but it is a different kind of atmosphere.”
The competition will be held on today and Saturday in Topeka, starting at 10 a.m.
Great Bend is taking Justin Kuhlman, Josh Schridde, Cory Merten, Keaton Elliott, Jack Pumford and Michael Raymer to compete in a total of seven events, including all three relays.
“Kuhlman was an obvious qualifier,” Beaumont said. “He’s been there all four years now. Josh Schridde was on relays last year, now he’s taken the next step and is in a couple of individual events.
“Merten went last year, and Elliott was on some relays.”
Kuhlman and Schridde are the only two swimmers who are in individual events.
Kuhlman is competing in the 100-meter fly and the 100 backstroke.
Schridde qualified in the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle.
“Kuhlman has a pretty good chance, if he swims well, of making the top 8 and swimming for a medal on Saturday,” Beaumont said. “The relays, they’re kind of on the outside looking in. They’re seeded around 15 to 20. Those guys are going to have to swim fast.
“If we can take off a few seconds, we can jump up a lot, but if we add a few seconds, we could drop off completely. Anything can happen at the state meet.”
HIGH SCHOOL SWIMMING
Class 5-1A State Swim Meet
Great Bend qualifiers
200-meter relay — Justin Kuhlman, Michael Raymer, Josh Schridde, Cory Merten
200 freestyle relay — Schridde, Keaton Elliott, Jack Pumford, Merten
400 freestyle relay — Kuhlman, Merten, Elliott, Schridde
100 fly — Kuhlman
100 backstroke — Kuhlman
200 individual medley — Schridde
100 freestyle — Schridde