With nine boys out for the swim team at Hays High School in the 2015-16 season, success on the large scale mostly was out of the question.
Low numbers have made substitutes an unrealistic luxury for the Indians. Swimmers also are limited in terms of how many events in which they can participate at a given meet, further harnessing the Indians’ potential. HHS swimmers also participate in events that might not fit their strengths or the good of the team.
Despite the roadblocks to better team results, Sara Kay Carrell’s team is making the most of the 2015-16 season.
“We know we’re not going to be the top person at every meet, but we’re going to go into them and we’re going to give everyone our best, and that’s what they do,” Carrell said.
“It’s real fun,” senior Hunter Perryman said. “ Four years doing it, and it gets better every year. It’s a blast.”
Being a member of the smaller team isn’t all bad, according to some members.
“We’re a really close team,” senior Jordan Voss said. “Because there’s so few people, we get to know each other so well.”
Tuesday’s Hays Invitational at the Hays Center for Health Improvement aquatic center was the final home meet for Perryman, Voss and a handful of other seniors. The Indians placed second in the three-team meet. Great Bend dominated with 412 points, while Hays High’s 167 beat Junction City (121) for second. The result was refreshing after the Indians have finished last in a couple of larger meets, the coach said, but results haven’t impacted performance.
“They have not slacked on any meets this year, so I know that they did their best today,” the Carrell said.
“It’s a weird feeling,” HHS senior Scott Ring said following his final home meet. “I’m happy because I’ve seen some of these senior guys improve so much, and myself, during the past four years.”
Junior Tanner Callis captured the Indians’ lone first-place finish in the 100 freestyle, arguably the most exciting race of the afternoon. Callis edged Great Bend’s Jordan Boone by just over .3 seconds. HHS freshman Brett Bowles took third with classmate Chris Fuentes in fifth.
Senior Ben Morley took second in the 100 butterfly, finishing two seconds behind Great Bend’s Josh Schridde.
Voss was the only other Indian to finish in the top three of an individual event, finishing the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute. 30.26 seconds.
A pair of HHS relay teams took third. Ring, Voss, Morley and Callis finished behind a pair of Great Bend teams in the 200 medley relay, while Perryman, Bowles, Fuentes and Callis placed third in the 400 freestyle relay in 4:17.2.
Perryman hopes to see one of his teammates qualify for the state tournament, allowing the HHS seniors an opportunity to enjoy the experience a little bit longer.
“I would like to see one of our guys make it to state one more time,” Perryman said. “That way, we can just have one more time going there, hanging out and just close of the year with a blast.”
Team scoring — Great Bend 412, Hays High 167, Junction City 121.
Individual results — 50 freestyle: Josh Schridde, Great Bend, 25.04. 100 freestyle: Tanner Callis, Hays High, 59.69. 100 butterfly: Josh Schridde, Great Bend, 1:05.03. 100 breaststroke: Antoine Flipo, Great Bend, 1:15.73. 100 backstroke: Connor Furrey, Great Bend, 1:08.17. 200 freestyle: Phane Pedigo, Great Bend, 2:12.57. 200 IM: Dawson Clark, Great Bend. 500 freestyle: Phane Pedigo, Great Bend, 6:04.34. 200 freestyle relay: Great Bend, 1:45.73. 200 medley relay: Great Bend, 1:56.85. 400 freestyle relay: Great Bend, 3:54.22.