Cupp leads Buffaloes in swimming dual

Brad Nading
Garden City Telegram
Garden City High School's Connor Cupp, left, and Kobe Otero both come up for a breath and make strokes Thursday while competing in the 100 butterfly during a home swimming dual at the Garden City Family YMCA. Cupp claimed two state qualifying times in events at the meet.

Garden City High School’s boys swimming team hosted Hays in a dual Thursday at the Garden City Family YMCA. The Buffaloes grabbed first place finishes in nine events on the day.

Garden City’s Connor Cupp was the big winner in the races, posting state qualifying times in two events. In the 100 backstroke first place finish, Cupp clocked a 57.61. Then in the 100 butterfly, he sped past the competition with a 56.09 for first.

“We ended up having some really good swims at this meet,” GCHS head coach Brian Watkins said. “We used this meet as opportunities for our underclassman to step up to the plate and claim spots in events for the league meet on Feb. 11. We have some holes to fill on the league roster and haven’t quite figured out who to plug into those events.”

The Buffaloes 200 freestyle relay team of Esai Morales, Devin Chappel, Rory James and Jeremiah Bunce flew through the water for a first-place finish with a time of 1:42.22.  The team of Evan Gurrola, Brody Hoff, Emilio Arteaga and Carl Bors swam the event in 1:56.01 for third place. Garden City’s other relay team in the event, Kaleb Otero, Aedryc Ortiz, Ashton James and Paul Caballero, finished in fourth with a 1:56.34.

Garden City High School's James Ashton makes a stroke while turning for a breath Thursday in a 50 freestyle heat race during a swimming dual at the Garden City Family YMCA.

In the 100 backstroke, following Cupp was GCHS’ Kobe Otero in second place with a 58.04. Morales swan a 1:09.13 for third place.

Garden City took four of the top five placings in the 100 breaststroke. Hoff won the race event with a 1:19.18 while Rory James was right behind him in second with a 1:19.72.  Navin Brewer swam a 1:28.98 for fourth place and Rex Crotts had a 1:34.42 for fifth.

All four of the GCHS 400 freestyle relay teams claimed the top four spots in the event.  The team of Chappel, Bunce, Cupp and Kobe Otero grabbed first place with a time of 3:42.15. In second place, with a time of 4:20.05, was the team of Ortiz, Josh Snyder, Ashton Jams and Hoff. Rory James, Caleb Randall, Kaleb Reagle and Brewer combined for a 4:52.37 for third place, and finishing fourth was the team of Alec Erskin, Henry Bors, Crotts and Arteaga.

“This was the first meet that we were able to get a true view of what our tam has to offer,” Watkins said. “We had all 22 swimmers compete in the event — the first time all year this has happened.”

Erskin grabbed first place in the 200 IM with a time of 2:29.22.

In the 200 freestyle, Reagle claimed the victory with a time of 2:19.40 while Ashton James took second with a 2:23.17 and finishing right behind in third was Rory James with a 2:23.77.

Following Cupp’s win in the 100 butterfly, Kobe Otero finished in second place with a state consideration time of 57.46. Chappel swam a 58:82 for third place.

Garden City’s 200 medley relay teams swept the top three of the top five slots in the event.  Finishing first was the team of Morales, Kobe Otero, Cupp and Bunce in 1:45.08 while the team of Erskin, Hoff, Kaleb Otero and Gurrola grabbed second with a 2:06.54. Randall, Crotts, Brewer and Arteaga combined for fifth place with a 2:32.44.

Bunce claimed the win in the 500 freestyle with a 6:06.54.

In the 50 freestyle, Kaleb Otero finished fourth with a time of 27.21 and right behind him was Ashton James with a 27.38 for fifth place.

“This was fun to finally see all the boys compete at once. It’s something we’ve been waiting for all season,” Watkins said. “I hope we can se them all compete again next week against Great Bend.”