The Garden City High School boys swimming team opened its season Thursday, starting strong by winning the Salina South meet by 75 points over second-place team finisher Wichita Campus.
“We won six events as a team, and this was our strongest showing to begin a season so far as a program,” GCHS head coach Brian Watkins said. “We are proud of the work this team has put in leading up to the meet.”
Jeremiah Bunce led the way for Garden City, claimed two individual titles and first place in two relay races. The Buffalo junior won the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 23:70 and the 100-meter freestyle in a time of 53:39.
Garden City ended up with five 6A state consideration times. Kobe Otero, in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:15.08, also winning the event; Bunce in his two individual victories; and Connor Cupp, who won the 100-meter butterfly in 58:08, and finished second in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:01.35.
The Buffaloes also had two 6A state qualifying times in relay races.
In the 200-meter medley relay, the team of Otero, Bunce, Cupp and Devin Chappel finished in 1:49.26 to claim first place.
In the 400-meter freestyle relay, the same Buffalo team won the event at 3:37.05.
“A lot of focus from other teams was on our talents group of freshmen, including Kobe Otero and Devin Chappel, but juniors Jeremiah Bunce and Connor Cupp showed great leadership by swimming great times and leading our younger squad swimmers in to their first high school swim meet,” Watkins said.
Other top 10 finishers for Garden City in the meet’s events include:
• 200 meter medley relay team of Esai Morales, Rory James, Peter Hall and Nate Morren finishing seventh.
• In the 200-meter freestyle, Joel Contrarez finished third, Brody Hoff finished fifth, and Ashton James claimed ninth place.
• 50-meter freestyle: Chappel finished in fourth and N. Morren claimed seventh.
• 100 meter butterfly: Contrarez finished in fourth place.
• 100-meter freestyle: Chappel claimed third and N. Morren finished in fifth place.
• 500-meter freestyle: Hoff finished in fifth place, Austin Morren claimed seventh and Emilio Arteaga finished in ninth.
• 200-meter freestyle relay: the team of Hall, Contrarez, Morales and N. Morren claimed second place while the team of A. Morren, Hoff, Seth Clower and Alex DePaz finished in sixth place.
• 100-meter backstroke: Morales finished in fifth place and Clower right behind him in sixth.
• 100-meter breaststroke: Ashton James finished in eighth place.
“We ended up winning he meet by 75 points and that has a lot to do with our depth,” Watkins said. “Senior Nate Morren and juniors Seth Clower and Esai Morales really showed up today and gave us a nice little surprise in the respective events. I was also impressed by sophomore Joel Contrarez. He really showed some fight in the 200 free and 100 fly, which are maybe the two hardest events in the meet.
“Overall I’m just excited to see where these boys go this season. We already are heading to state in two events and we have a goal of getting a state cut in all 11 events."
The Buffaloes are back in action Tuesday when they travel to Great Bend to open Western Athletic Conference action.