GCHS girls swimming opens season with victory

GCHS Athletics

A coach never really knows for sure how their team will perform in the opening event of a new season.

Such was the mindset of Garden City High School girls swimming coach Jennifer Meng.

So when her Buffaloes captured Thursday’s Salina South Invitational and in the process beating Western Athletic Conference rival Great Bend and WAC opponent Hays, there was a big brim of a smile of confidence.

“It was a great way to start the season,” Meng said of the first-place finish. “As expected, our relays did well.”

GCHS got state consideration times in both the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays, capturing both with times of 2:06.76 and 1:54.53. Swimming on the medley relay were Lana Rodriguez, Avery Meng, Paige Chappel and Payton Tull. The 200-yard free relay team members included Tull, Ashleigh Chappel, Meng and Paige Chappel.

“Out of the 16 swimmers we took, it was the first high school meet for 14 of them,” Meng said. “We are very proud of their performance.”

Meng captured first in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:17.19 and is just .02 away from a state consideration time. Paige Chappel garnered a pair of firsts in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events with times of 2:19.75 and 6:20.55.

Meng and Rodriguez went 2-3 in the 200-yard individual medley with times of 2:39.66 and 2:43.88 while Ashleigh Chappel also took a third in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:04.06. Rodriguez brought home a gold medal in the 100-yard backstroke with a mark of 1:14.53 while Mya Garcia took second behind Meng in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:25.39. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Garcia, Lexi Arwine, Rodriguez and Paige Chappel also took first in 4:28.04.

Team Scores (Salina South Division)

1. Garden City, 498; 2. Great Bend, 444; 3. Manhattan, 419; 4. Junction City, 254; 5. Salina South, 242; 6. Hays High, 177.

Salina Central Division

1. Garden City, 451; 2. Great Bend, 421; 3. Manhattan, 390; 4. Salina Central, 371; 5. Junction City, 214; 6. Hays High, 147.

Garden City Individual Results (Top 3)

200y medley relay—1. 2:06.76 (Rodriguez, Meng, P. Chappel, Tull).

200y freestyle—1. P. Chappel, 2:19.75.

200y IM—2. Meng, 2:39.66; 3. Rodriguez, 2:43.88.

100y freestyle—3. A. Chappel, 1:04.06.

500y freestyle—1. P. Chappel, 6:20.55.

200y freestyle relay—1. Tull, A. Chappel, Meng, P. Chappel, 1:54.53.

100y backstroke—1. Rodriguez, 1:14.53.

100y breaststroke—1. Meng, 1:17.19; 2. Garcia, 1:25.39.

400y freestyle relay—1. 4:28.04 (Garcia, Arwine, Rodriguez, A. Chappel).

Next meet for Garden City will be Tuesday at the Hutchinson Invitational. First swim is at 3:30 p.m. at the Hutchinson YMCA.