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GCHS boys swimming wins dual to start season

Brad Nading
Garden City Telegram
Garden City High School's Connor Cupp comes up for a breath as he makes a stroke in the 100-yard butterfly in December 2019 during a home triangular at the Garden City Family YMCA.

With only five days of practice before the first competition, many teams would appear rusty and not in sync yet.

That was not the case for the Garden City High School boys swimming team on Tuesday as it traveled to Great Bend for a dual and won the meet 100-62, showing much of the form carrying over from last season already.

“The boys started the meet off with a bang Tuesday, posting a win by six seconds and a state qualifying time in the medley relay,” GCHS coach Brian Watkins said. “That was sort of the story of the meet after that. We ended up winning all but two of the events.”

That 200-yard medley relay team, made up of Kobe Otero, Jeremiah Bunce, Connor Cupp and Esai Morales, won the event with the state-qualifying time of 1:45.40. The Buffalo team of Kaleb Otero, Brody Hoff, Alec Erskin and Aedrye Ortiz finished in third place with a time of 2:05.08.

Garden City’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Morales, Devin Chappel, Cupp and Bunce, won the event in 1:35.56 and also got a state qualifying time. The GCHS team of Ortiz, Hoff, Carl Bors and Ashton James, swam the race in 1:51.05 for third place.

In the 200-yard freestyle, the Buffaloes’ Chappel won the event with a state-qualifying time of 1:54.11. Evan Gurrola grabbed fourth place with a 2:20.07 and Kaleb Reagle finished fifth, right behind Gurrola, with a 2:20.19.

Kobe Otero snagged a state-qualifying time in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57:74. Erskin took third with a time of 1:08.19 and Kaleb Otero swam the race in 1:10.01 for fourth place.

“At the end of the day, it was still the first meet … and we have some major weakness that will go along with all the great things the boys accomplished,” Watkins said. “We have a lack of ability to finish the race right now, and the lack of training is exclusively to blame for that.”

In the 50-yard freestyle, Morales won the event with a time of 23.55. The time is good enough to be a state-consideration time.  Bunce took fourth in the race with a 24.86.

Cupp grabbed a state-consideration time in the 100-yard butterfly of 57.60 while taking first place. Hoff took third place with a 1:11.33 and Erskin swam the race in 1:11.82 for fourth place.

In the 100-yard freestyle, Chappel and Kobe Otero each swam a state-consideration time in the event. Chappel swam it in 51.37 for the win, with Otero right behind him with a 51:38 for second place. Bunce finished fourth in the event with 55.48.

Cupp also won the 100-yard breaststroke with a state-consideration time of 1:08.83.  Hoff grabbed third with a 1:20.31 and Rory James finish fourth with a time of 1:20.51.

Garden City’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Chappel, Erskin, Morales and Kobe Otero won the event with a time of 3:38.96. It was fast enough to be a state-consideration time.  The Buffalo team of James, Kaleb Otero, Bors and Gurrola finished third with a time of 4:14.04.

Reagle took second place in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 6:38.26. Rory James finished in third with a time of 6:39.84 and Gurrola swam the race in 6:54.60 for fourth place.

“The one advantage we have in starting this late is that we may be able to carry the excitement of the beginning of the season throughout the entire season,” Watkins said. “This could really help those boys push the pace in practice when other teams are starting to hit the dog days of their season.”

The Buffaloes will be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Hays.