Shawnee Mission East’s boys swimming and diving team has enjoyed a decade of dominance in the Sunflower League.
It became official Saturday at Lawrence Free State, where the Lancers won the Sunflower League Boys Swimming and Diving Championships for the 10th consecutive year.
“We kiddingly told our kids all week that the freshmen this year were 4 years old when the streak started,” SM East Wiley Wright said.
Jokes aside, that does effectively illustrate the term of the Lancers’ reign.
For the latest chapter, SM East leaned on a pair of double gold medalists — senior Troy DeMoss, who won the 200-yard individual medley (1:54.78) and 100 backstroke (52.81), and junior Zack Holbrook, who swept the 50 (21.73) and 100 (47.23) freestyle races — en route to a 49-point win.
“I was really happy with my IM and my backstroke especially,” DeMoss said. “My IM was a half a second off my best time, and in the backstroke, I swam my best time and got my school record again. I’m pretty happy with that.”
Holbrook was equally pleased.
“I was seeded behind (Olathe East junior) Tanner Emerson in the 50 free, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” he said. “But I went my personal best in the 100 free and pretty close to it in the 50 free, so it was a good meet for me overall.”
The Lancers finished with 331 total points, well ahead of runner-up Olathe East (282).
“We don’t have a lot of real, true superstars,” Wright said. “We have our share, but it was the kids in the consolation heats who swam up and did really well. Our divers also did well. Every time we do well, it’s a total team effort — and it was again this year.”
Even though it basically was a foregone conclusion, SM East didn’t let the inevitable taint the joy of winning another league championship.
“Winning never gets old,” said Holbrook, who also anchored two first-place relays.
The Lancers won the 200 (1:28.79) and 400 (3:15.79) freestyle relays.
Senior Christopher Watkins and juniors Jackson Granstaff and Peter Milledge joined Holbrook on the shorter relay, while DeMoss, Watkins and Milledge helped Holbrook cap the meet with a 400 freestyle relay crown.
Olathe Northwest finished fifth as a team, but produced two event winners, including senior Zach Willis, who completed a career sweep in 100 breaststroke league titles.
“Winning for the fourth time feels really good,” said Willis, whose winning time was 1:00.21.
Meanwhile, sophomore Josh Read continued the Ravens’ diving tradition.
Clark Thomas, who has moved on to Missouri, won league all four years in his undefeated career. Read notched his first title with 387.75 points, beating SM South sophomore Jackson Conrad by 9.3 points.
The host Firebirds also snagged two titles with senior Ben Sloan winning the 100 butterfly (51.33) and junior Canaan Campbell touching first in the 500 free (4:45.13).
Finally, the runner-up Hawks — senior Chuck Balkenbusch with juniors Connor Davey, Tanner Emerson and Tyler Gartenberg — won the 200 medley relay (1:40.06) and SM South sophomore Ryan Sweat snagged gold in the 200 free (1:45.26).
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.