For the past several seasons, when the Garden City High School girls swimming team competed at Hutch not much went well as far as fast times and high finishes.
But that has changed this season with the Buffs, and on Tuesday coach Jennifer Meng’s squad showed its continued improvement by placing second among nine teams with 447 points, finishing behind McPherson’s 486 points, but ahead of host Hutchinson’s third-place total of 418. Dodge City was a distant fourth with 264 points.
“The girls swam well today and we had some good relay swims,” Meng said. “Some of our swimmers have continued to lower their season times, and that is adding depth to our scoring which will be a big factor for the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) meet.”
Senior Grace Schmidt produced the lone first-place finish for the Buffs, capturing the 200-yard freestyle in 2:08.33. Emma Tull captured a second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:16.47 while the 400-yard free relay team of Kirstin Neff, Ashleigh Chappel, Emily Ortiz and Schmidt placed second in 4:14.83.
Third-place finishes also were captured by Schmidt in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:08.54 and Josie Calzonetti in the 500-yard freestyle (6:53.11), while Neff took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly.
It was a strong effort by the Buffs and left Meng pleased with the team’s progress.
“We didn’t have any state qualifying times, but that pool is hard to get good times,” Meng said. “I think the Hutch curse is over.”
The Buffs will have one day to rest and then return to the pool at 4 p.m. Thursday when they travel to the Salina Invitational.
“The pool there is much better and it’s just a good place to swim, so I would expect our times to be faster,” Meng said.