By BRETT MARSHALL
In recent years, the Garden City High School girls swimming program has steadily made strides each season.
That's evident for the 2013 campaign as the Lady Buffs head to Topeka for the Class 6A state swim meet which gets under way at 10 a.m. Friday at the Hummer Sports Complex.
The Lady Buffs, who only had one relay team entered a year ago, and that on state consideration time (non-automatic time that is eligible). The team didn't make the finals for the last day of competition, but head coach Casey Wise said the experience would prove valuable for the 2013 season.
And he couldn't have been more accurate.
The Lady Buffs will not only take their automatically-qualified 4x100-yard relay team of Claire Schmidt, Alexa Shaffer, Katelyn Greene and Samantha Norton but they will also have their 200-yard medley relay team of Ashley Longoria, Lindsay Bradstreet, Schmidt and Erika Schafer competing. Add in the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Greene, Abigail Ginest-Dougherty, Shaffer and Norton and there's much to be pleased with.
"It's a step up for us from last year," Wise said on Wednesday. "We keep making those little strides."
In addition to the relay teams, Norton, a junior, got in on her consideration time of 2:29.28 in the 200-yard individual medley, a race that involves all four swim strokes (backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle).
"The last time we had an individual qualify was 2005, and we've only had three individuals qualify over the last decade," Wise said. "So this is a nice way to see how much we've improved."
If the relay teams, and/or Norton, make it through prelims on Friday, they would compete in the finals on Saturday.