Home pool advantage helped bring out the best in the Hays High swimming team.
The Indians enjoyed their best outing of the season in Monday’s Hays High Invitational at the Center for Health Improvement, winning three events and placing second as a team in the four-team meet.
“They were all amazed at how many people came out,” Hays High coach Luke Lundmark said. “It was great seeing Hays High students there, and it was also great seeing family members that aren’t able to make trips to Great Bend or Topeka. It really kind of gave them a huge lift.
“I kind of felt the mood soften a little bit when they stared seeing all their friends and family. Just the energy there was awesome. This was our highest point total and our highest place this season. It definitely shows the hard work that the girls have been putting in.”
Junior Megan Flavin highlighted the meet by winning two events for the Indians. Flavin won the 50-yard freestyle in 28.01, edging Holcomb’s Lauren Jones by 0.8 seconds. She claimed the 100-yard freestyle by about six seconds over Junction City’s Karmen Freeman, with Flavin finishing in 1:01.82.
Flavin has been posting state consideration times and is looking to solidify a qualifying spot for the state meet.
“She’s one of our hardest workers,” Lundmark said. “I have lots of girls ask: ‘How can I get better?’ But she will sit there in practice and say, ‘Alright, I need to do this. What can I do?’ Or she won’t even ask, she’ll go ahead and swim an extra lap or two or three or four. … Practice time is only a couple hours, and she wants to get as much work in as she can in those two hours.”
Hanna Dannar won the 100-yard backstroke for the Indians with a 1:29.92, about five seconds better than second-place Eva Gaer from Junction City. Hays’ Kayli Potter took third in the event with a 1:39.80 and Paige Beamer was fifth with a 1:44.65.
The Indians compiled 434 points in the meet, finishing 50 points behind Junction City. Dodge City was third with 420 while Holcomb was fourth with 178.
In the 200-yard medley relay, Hays High’s team of Kaitlyn Christen, Myranda Berner, Flavin and Siera Smith placed second in 2:23.46.
Hays’ Caitlin Leiker took third in the 500-yard free (8:05.37) and was fourth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:55.77).
In the 100 free, Hays’ Taylor Deines joined Flavin with a top-five finish. Deines took fifth in 1:14.15.
Hays’ 400-yard free relay team of Cristen, Dannar, Berner and Deines placed third in 5:23.72.
Lundmark credited Leiker and Berner for stepping up to compete in the grueling 500 free.
“No one wants to do the 500,” Lundmark said. “They both went out and did a really fantastic job for doing it for the first time.”
Other highlights for Lundmark included seeing Alora Arnold and Christen take off time in their respective events.
Lundmark said he’s encouraged about the forward trajectory of the program.
“I’m really excited,” Lundmark said. “I love seeing the enthusiasm they have every day in practice. Having 25 girls out this year has been awesome for us. Hopefully we can continue building on that.”
The Indians have three meets left. They will take part in the Great Bend Invitational on Friday.
“We’re hoping to build and we’re also looking toward the future,” Lundmark said. “The underclassmen girls, like Taylor Deines and Siera Smith, we want them to end the year on a high note so they can go into their junior year with a lot of confidence.”