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GCHS swimming takes fifth as team

Brad Nading
Garden City Telegram
Garden City High School's Jeremiah Bunce takes a breath as he makes a stroke in a 50-yards freestyle race Thursday during a swim meet at the Garden City Family YMCA.

Garden City High School’s boys swimming team competed at Wichita Heights on Saturday and came away with a fifth-place team finish out of 17 teams.

“The format was three sessions, and they combined all the times and figured out team scores from there. It was a new format that I personally enjoyed,” GCHS head coach Brian Watkins said. “It cut down on the swimmers' time at the venue, while providing us with the fastest competition in the meet.”

The Buffaloes’ 200 medley relay team of Esai Morales, Kobe Otero, Connor Cupp and Jeremiah Bunce finished in third place with a time of 1:43.34, for a personal record.  

Watkins said they switched up the order, putting Otero in the breaststroke and moving Morales to the backstroke. The team posted a time faster than what it swam in the 6A state meet last year, Watkins said.

In the 200 freestyle, GCHS’ Devin Chappel swam a 1:52.23 for second place.

Cupp placed fifth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.06. The time was good enough to be a state-qualifying time.

Chappel and Otero finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 100 freestyle. Chappel swam the race in 50.77 and Otero in 51.24. Both times were fast enough to become state qualifying times.

“There was only one team that we really wanted to see, but didn’t get a chance, and that was McPherson,” Watkins said. “It would have been nice to be able to face off against them in person rather than virtually.”

McPherson edged out Garden City by two points in the team competition.

In the 50 freestyle, Morales took fourth place with a 23.34 and Bunce finished seventh with a 23.68.

The Buffaloes 200 freestyle relay team of Morales, Chappel, Cupp and Bunce took third place Saturday with a time of 1:34.25 for a personal record.

Cupp swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.82 to finish in second place at the meet.

Otero grabbed a fifth-place finish in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.43.

The 400 freestyle relay team for Garden City of Chappel, Morales, Bunce and Otero finished the event in fourth place with a personal record time of 3:29.12.

“As a team, we still have a long way to go to get where we want to be at the end of the season,” Watkins said. “I think with the schedule we have coming up, we can surely get to that point or come really close to it.”

The Buffalos were at Topeka on Monday and will be back in Wichita on Saturday for a Wichita Swim Club meet.