After a strong performance during league competition with a record of 7-1, the Kapaun Mt. Carmel boys swim teach had high expectations for the City League tournament Thursday.
They knew that their biggest competition would be the team ranked number one in the city, Wichita East.
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“Swimming against East was probably the most challenging part of the meet,” junior Matt Samsel said. “They have a lot of really good swimmers and Spitz set four city league records in his events. East was everyone's biggest competition and they blew everyone away. We were in a race for second with Heights.”
To prepare for the meet, head coach Chris Erickson had his team go back to the basics.
“We did a lot of working on the small stuff, starts, turns etc.,” Erickson said. “Once you get this close to championship meets if you haven't trained hard all season the last week won't make a difference if you practice hard or not.”
In addition to practicing the basics, the team tapered their workouts to relax and be mentally prepared for the meet.
“It relaxes you and your muscles,” sophomore Ryan Rathert said. “We’ve been working so hard in the past so it kind of gives them a break and get ready to go our hardest.”
In the end, the Crusaders were in a race for second place against the Heights Falcons, and eventually pulled away.
“We were aiming to get second. East is a powerhouse and they’ve won it for a long time,” junior Nolan Hesse said. “There’s nothing we can do about that. We were sandwiched between East and Heights in the rankings. Heights nearly caught us, but we pulled it out. Nothing can faze our team too much.”
Great chemistry and support is what got Kapaun to its second-place finish, Hesse said.
“We had great camaraderie,” he said. “We were really rooting for each other the whole time. All of us did really well. We set nine new state qualifiers and we already had a lot to begin with. That’s a great thing. We were just all supporting each other and we were all united to pull it out.”
Placing well was a good confidence builder going into the state competition, sophomore Will DeVries said.
“This meet got our hopes up and our confidence up,” DeVries said. “We had nine more people qualify for state this meet than we had previously. We’re sending a lot more people to state this year and we’re really excited.”
With just a week until state competition, the Crusaders have already begun to prepare.
“For state, the plan is to taper sets again through the week,” Samsel said. “We have been preparing for it all year and have confidence that we can do well. We don't feel rushed.”
After a strong finish in the city league competition, the Crusaders are looking forward to doing well at state competition.