At this point, it’s not a question of who will win the City League swim and dive championship, but who will come in second.
The Blue Aces ran away with the title for the fifth straight year with an incredible 463.5 points. So, to answer the question, Kapaun took second with 210.5 points. Heights took third in its home natatorium with 186 points, 50 more than fourth-place Carroll.
The East swimmers set city league records in four different events. The oldest was the 13-year-old 200 medley relay set by the East team of Kittrell, Donahue, Crumley and Byrne. The 2013 squad of Brandon Shinsato, Nate Pirner, Jake Spitz and Andrew Sousa thrashed the old record of 1:41.50 with a new time of 1:38.15, a difference of more than three seconds.
Spitz didn’t get a shot at taking down the record in the 200 freestyle, the one he set in 2012. But, he seemed content with it because his name is now attached with four city league records.
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“I’m kind of shocked,” said Spitz. “My 100 free; I was shocked. I didn’t think I was going to go that fast. The entire team, we’re here to race. So anytime we get up on the blocks, we’re going to do our best.”
Spitz won the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.59, obliterating the two-year-old record set by North’s Logan Lassley by nearly a full second.
The best at East translates well into broken records and top-three finishes at the state championship, something Spitz still has his eyes on.
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“This (meet) is really exciting me,” he said. “The guys who won last year (Shawnee Mission East) graduated a lot of seniors. We graduated four points.”
In the 11 swim events held at Heights’ first-year natatorium, East boasted 17 top-three finishes across every single event. If the Blue Aces didn’t win an event, a rarity, it often took second and third places to outscore the winner of the event.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Heights’ Kyle Cullinan finished with a time of 1:48.67, but East’s Charlie King, Brandon Vandeventer and Philip Aaby finished second, third and fourth, respectively. The trio accrued 36 points from one race, to Cullinan’s 16.
East took the top two places in the 200-yard individual medley with Shinsato at the top and Pirner in second. Then, the team finished in first and third places in 50-yard freestyle with Spitz at the top and Kevin Kilgour at No. 3
“These kids feed off each other,” said East head coach Joe Hutchinson. “They don’t want to be the ones that let people down.”
Hutchinson used the final race of the championships as an example of his team’s character and spirit.
“The (400 freestyle relay) is a great example,” he said. “Heights had us the 75 (yards of the final leg), but Charlie (King) said ‘No, no, no’ and came back and won it. What a great race.”
It wasn’t by much, but the East team of Vandeventer, Kilgour, Shinsato and King did win the 400 freestyle relay by 8/100ths of a second over the Heights squad of Cullinan, Dawson Gantebein, Bryce Blattner and Zach Zimmerman.
East’s Shinsato nearly set the city league record in the 100 backstroke, but missed it by half a second. He won in 53.11 seconds. Shinsato also won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:58.03.
Pirner entered with a seed time of 1:01.75, but cut more than two full seconds to finish in 59.58 seconds for the city league title and record.
Carroll’s Alexander Vulgamore won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.21 seconds. It was one of three events East didn’t win.