Highlighted by another strong showing from senior Isaac Smith, the Hays High boys swimming team enjoyed a productive outing in the Hays High Invitational on Tuesday at the Center for Health Improvement.
Smith won the 100-yard breaststroke and placed second in the 100 butterfly in his final home meet, and HHS coach Jane Rorstrom said several other Indians turned in encouraging performances.
"Very happy," Rorstrom said. "We had a number of best times, and the boys swam their hearts out, so I'm very pleased."
Smith, who has signed to swim at Sterling College, won the breaststroke in 1:06.92 while clocking a 58.14 in the butterfly.
"I thought I did very well in both my individuals, and I also think that our team did really well, too, as a whole," Smith said.
Smith said swimming in front of a home crowd provides an energy boost.
"It keeps a little pep in your step, makes you feel a little bit energized to be in front of your home crowd," Smith said. "It was awesome."
Smith also teamed with Adam King, Grayson Walburn and Matt Goodale to take second in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:57.37.
Other top-five performances for Hays High included Marshall Perryman taking fourth in the 100-yard backstroke, followed by King in fifth in 1:16.43. Walburn placed fifth in the 50 freestyle in 26.38. Perryman, Carson Ackerman, Matt Goodale and Smith were fourth in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:49.46.
Smith has qualified for state in several events, and Rorstrom said a couple of the Indians' relay teams still have a chance at qualifying.
She said the Indians have been able to consistently cut down their times throughout the season.
"I think there might have been one meet where we had 50 best times," Rorstrom said. "One of our newest swimmers (Jude Tippy) improved his time 10 or 12 seconds in two events (Tuesday). It's insane. Being at home is very encouraging for them."
Smith has qualified for state every season but missed last season's meet with an injury.
"It for sure motivates me a lot to really finish off strong and finish with a bang," Smith said of his senior season. "Who wants to end their high school career, right? You just want to finish it off good and kick some butt. I'm very excited to hopefully finish it off on a good note."
He's also encouraged by the future of the program.
"I feel like this year we have taken one of the biggest steps as far as getting better as a team, since maybe when I was a freshman," Smith said. "We have a good group of freshmen, sophomores and juniors who I think will really carry the team next year. I think they're doing very well."
"I think we have a very good up-and-coming team," Rorstrom said. "We're excited about the future."
Smith and fellow seniors Ackerman, Goodale and Perryman were recognized during the meet.
The Indians will be in action again on Feb. 5 in the Salina South meet.
Garden City's Devin Chappel and Kobe Otero helped the Buffaloes capture the team title Tuesday, winning two individual events. Garden City took nine events on the day, winning by a wide margin over second-place Junction City.