After 29 years of coaching SM East’s accomplished boys swim team, Wiley Wright generally has a pretty good sense going into each season of just how high his team’s ceiling will be, but this year’s crew caught him off guard.
After graduating a number of talented seniors last season following a second-place overall finish at state, Wiley wasn’t expecting that this year’s freshman-heavy lineup would be able to compete at a similarly high level. But after a dominating performance at the Sunflower League championships two weeks ago, Wiley thinks anything’s possible at the State meet that begins today in Topeka.
“From where they started at the beginning of the year, I thought there’s no way they’d be in a position to contend for a top three spot at state,” Wiley said. “They’ve put themselves in a position to excel at state. They’ve come a long ways.”
With their record-setting performances at the league meet, the Lancers find themselves with strong seedings across the state psych sheet. In the 50 Yard Freestyle, SM East swimmers swimmers Zach Holbrook, Peter Milledge and Patrick Hornung are seeded first second and fourth, respectively. The team is also the top seed in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay.
“We’re really strong in the sprint events,” Wright said. “I’ve been telling the guys they need to stay the course. They’re in a good frame of mind.”
Preliminary heats in the 6A competition start today at 1:30 p.m. at Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium. Finals start Saturday at 3:30 p.m.