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Relays solid for HHS swimming

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

The unfortunate reality of the Hays High School girls' swimming season is that the closer it gets to summer, the busier the swimmers get -- out of the pool.

With a handful of swimmers expected to miss meets over the final few weeks, including junior Emily McPherson, a key part of the Indians' relay teams --  she is one of Hays High's Chamber singers -- coach Ann Adams decided to go for broke in the relay events on Monday at the HHS Invitational at the Center for Health Improvement pool.

Even though Hays High came up short to Dodge City High School in overall points, the Indians accomplished one of their goals by sweeping all three of the relay events, also earning state consideration time in the 200-yard Freestyle relay.

"All three relays are looking pretty good. We got a few more meets and we can keep whittling away the times on that," Adams said. "Several of my girls have other commitments that are going to keep them out of some meets. So we are going to be piecing it together as we go along and hopefully for WAC everyone will be back together again. That's kind of typical of the girls' season. We have always prided ourselves on the fact that the girls are excellent scholars."

Dodge City won the overall team title on Monday with 379 points, edging out Hays High's 377 points. The Indians were either tied or in the lead most of the night. Also competing were Haysville-Campus (316 points), Junction City (274 points) and Liberal (266 points).

Hays High opened the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay. Freshman Ana Goodlett, junior Ashley Cossaart, senior Mackenzie Lewis and McPherson combined for a time of 2 minutes, 19.88 seconds.

Goodlett, Lewis and McPherson later combined with junior Lexie Schaben to win the 200-yard free relay in 2:02.12 and the 400-yard free relay in 4:32.28.

"I think we got some things accomplished," Adams said. "We got another consideration relay time tonight. Several of the girls cut times. It's always good to have that kind of competition and makes you look forward to WAC, which will be on May 15 (hosted by Hays High), and we will see Dodge City again."

Goodlett wins 200 IM

Goodlett has been a weapon for Hays High in the backstroke all season. And for the first time this year, Goodlett didn't get the opportunity to swim the event.

"I actually love doing backstroke, but it's right after the 200 free relay," Goodlett said. "This is Emily's last meet and coach Adams wanted to put me in all three relays. So I couldn't do back-to-back events in swimming."

Goodlett made up for missing the backstroke by winning the 200-yard IM in 2:45.86, but Adams expects Goodlett to be able to fully focus on her best event the rest of the season since the Indians don't plan to put much emphasis on the relays without their complete team in place.

"I'm expecting she will be able to qualify (for state) in the backstroke now that she won't have to concentrate on the relays so much," Adams said. "She is very good. Noticeably good and of course that is saying something. That's a tribute to the dedication that she has put into swimming the last few years."

Lewis wins 100 Free

Lewis is primarily known as a distance swimmer for the Indians, often competing in the 500-yard freestyle. But Adams also calls her the team's most versatile swimmer, and Monday Lewis proved it by winning the 100-yard freestyle in 1:09.60.

"I'm usually a distance swimmer, but they kind of throw me in wherever they need me," Lewis said. "Last meet I got really close to consideration time for state so I really wanted to try it this meet and get closer. I was surprised I was seeded first in it, but I'm really proud of myself that I can do it."

Other notable finishers for Hays High include McPherson, who finished second in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:25.76, and junior Amanda Koenigsman, who finished second in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:22.69.

Hays High swimmer goes dancing

Hays High senior swimmer Alexa Steinkuhler does not enjoy being in front of the camera. Which also makes you question her desire to dance in front of more than 10,000 people, possibly on national television.

"Ever since I started dancing my dream was to dance in college," said Steinkuhler, who will go into video journalism at Wichita State University. "I do not like to be on the camera. I like to be behind the scenes. I like to edit all of it together and make the final project. But dancing is something I can do in front of everybody else."

Steinkuhler's dream recently became reality when she was named one of 16 members of the WSU dance team for next season. The dancers biggest job is to perform at Shocker home basketball games, something that has Steinkuhler really excited.

"Almost 40 people tried out (for five open spots -- 11 were held for returners), so now that Wichita is well known, it's quite a big deal. Walking into Koch Arena was quite intimidating at the beginning," Steinkuhler said.

"I'm pretty nervous, definitely for the first game. Probably the jitters will go away. But I have made friends with the girls. They have kind of taken me under their wing. They are ready to get to know me and I'm ready to get to know them and dance and make new teammates and new friendships, new memories."