By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School's Lady Buffaloes swimming team made the long ride home more enjoyable by finishing second among eight teams Thursday at the Emporia Invitational.
The Lady Buffs finished with 424 points to place behind powerhouse host Emporia, which totaled 533 points. Derby was a distant third with 356 points.
The Buffs used a strong performance from their individual swimmers as well as their relay teams to compile its strong finish.
"I thought the girls competed well, and we put up some personal best times, so it was a really good day," GCHS head coach Casey Wise said. "Emporia's a pretty strong team and for us to get closer to them, I thought it was a good showing."
In the individual events, several Lady Buffs garnered third-place finishes, the highest place of the day for GCHS swimmers.
Samantha Norton was third in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:34.25 and was third in the 100-yard butterfly (1:12.72), while Lindsay Bradstreet garnered a bronze medal in the 100-yard breaststroke with a mark of 1:20.22. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Erika Schafer, Claire Schmidt, Jacie Sullivan and Katelyn Greene, also came in third with a time of 1:56.40.
"Thirds at this caliber of meet are very good, so we're happy that we cut times on many of our races, by many different swimmers," Wise said. "Sam (Norton) was much happier with her times than when she won at home last week, so we know the hard work is paying off for everyone."
Claire Schmidt placed fourth behind Norton in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:38.88 while the 200-yard medley relay team of Sullivan, Bradstreet, Norton and Alexa Shaffer also placed fourth with a time of 2:12.22.
Greene had a fifth in the 100-yard freestyle (1:02.57) as did Sullivan in the 100-yard backstroke (1:16.09). Schmidt and Shaffer went fifth/sixth in the 500-yard freestyle with personal best marks of 6:18.94 and 6:25.50.
"We moved some girls around to space out their events better and it really helped with their times," Wise said. "I think they were a lot happier with how their times dropped."
Greene was sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:26.56) while Shaffer and Bradstreet were sixth and seventh in the 200-yard freestyle (2:21.6 and 2:24.73).
The Lady Buffs return home for their next meet, a 4 p.m. Tuesday quadrangular at the YMCA Pool with Western Athletic Conference teams Great Bend, Dodge City and Liberal participating.