GCHS wins WAC boys swimming title

Brad Nading
Garden City Telegram
Garden City High School's Connor Cupp comes up for a breath and makes a stroke in an 100 butterfly race Feb. 4 at the Garden City Family YMCA.  Cupp won the event Thursday at the WAC meet in Great Bend and was chosen as this year's WAC Outstanding Swimmer.

Devin Chappel, Kobe Otero and Connor Cupp won two individual titles each to help lead Garden City High School to the Western Athletic Conference boys swimming team championship Thursday at Great Bend.

“This meet was a great end to an era for our seniors,” GCHS head coach Brian Watkins said. 

Numerous timing errors forced officials to rely on the hand times for those results, which Watkins said never seemed to go in Garden City’s favor, and appeared to rattle the team.

“We were winning by a narrow margin of 11 points, and I think the timing discrepancies were eating at the boys,” Watkins said. “After hearing the team score after event 4, there was a break and the team had time to regroup. And regroup is exactly what they did ... we didn’t loose another event the rest of the meet.

Chappel grabbed the title in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.53. Kaleb Otero took fifth in the event with a 2:15.32.

Cupp swam for his first individual championship in the 100 butterfly. He swam the event in 56.39. Brody Hoff finished with a 1:06.04 for fifth place.

In the 100 freestyle, the Buffaloes’ Kobe Otero claimed the title with a 51.39. Esai Morales took third place with a 52.38 and Carl Bors finished fourth with a 59.93.

Chappel’s second championship came in the 500 freestyle. He swam the event in 5:22.94. Kaleb Reagle had a 6:16.23 for fourth place.

Kobe Otero claimed his second individual title in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.37. Alec Erskin swam a 1:09.68 for third place and Kaleb Otero finished in fourth with a 1:11.67.

The second individual title for Cupp came in the 100 breaststroke. He swam the race in 1:05.45. Hoff finished in fifth place with a 1:15.69.

In the 200 IM, Erskin swam the race in 2:26.73 for third place. Rory James finished in fourth with a 2:42.39.

Morales finished in third place in the 50 freestyle with a 23.67. Jeremiah Bunce was right behind him in fourth with a time of 24.00.

“It’s crazy, but our team is a special one. For a lot of teams, it feels like an individual sport but not with these boys,” Watkins said. “It doesn’t matter who is swimming, our entire team is fully invested in that race. If a swimmer has a close race, every swimmer is on the edge of the pool cheering loudly.”

The Garden City relay teams continued to show their dominance, sweeping the events.

In the 200 Medley relay, the team of Morales, Kobe Otero, Cupp and Bunce claimed the title with a swim of 1:46.52. The Buffaloes’ relay team of Kaleb Otero, Hoff, skin and Aedryc Ortiz took third place with a 2:02.20.

The 200 freestyle relay team of Bunce, Chappel, Cupp and Morales sped past the competition for first place with a time of 1:34.95. The team of Bors, Hoff, Ashton James an Ortiz grabbed fourth place with an 1:47.74.

The team of Chappel, Erskin, Bunce and Kobe Otero claimed the 400 freestyle relay title with a time of 3;38.12. Finishing in fourth place was the team of Bors, Ortiz, van Gurrola and Kaleb Otero at 4:01.75.

Cupp also garnished another honor on the day as he was named this year’s WAC Outstanding Swimmer.

“I am just really happy that I was able to be a part of these boys success,” Watkins said.  “When we were told the season wasn’t going to start until after winter break and maybe not at all, a few of the boys were completely defeated and its been a task to get the back into a winning mindset. I think thy hav really bounced back and shown everyone how talented thy are.”

Garden City won the meet with 430.50 points while in a distance second was Great Bend with 341.

Next up for the Buffaloes is the 6A State swim meet on Friday and Saturday next week in Olathe.