Shawnee Mission East swim bests Blue Valley North in Class 6A state preview dual

Shawnee Mission East's PJ Spencer cut down his 100-yard freestyle time by seven tenths on Tuesday, but is still two tenths shy of the 51.35 needed to qualify for state.
Shawnee Mission East’s PJ Spencer cut down his 100-yard freestyle time by seven tenths on Tuesday, but is still two tenths shy of the 51.35 needed to qualify for state.

The deck was raucous as Shawnee Mission East and Blue Valley North were finishing the final lap of the 400-yard freestyle relay.

When SM East’s Sam Bruck touched the wall less than a second before BV North’s Sam Disette, the Lancers and their fans erupted into a loud cheer as SM East swept the top two spots and put the finishing touches on SM East’s 113-73 win on Tuesday night.

Coach Wiley Wright said his team loves racing against Blue Valley North as it’s become a rivalry. He said they look forward to racing against the Mustangs because they know it’ll be fast swimming.

“We take pride in that event,” Wright said of the 400-yard freestyle. “They want to do well at state and they have a shot. Getting second in that event was really, really good with our B relay beating their A. Totally unexpected, but it shows the depth we have.”

Shawnee Mission East and Blue Valley North are two of the top teams that will contend for the state title in a month in Topeka, which is where the Lancers will be next week. Following that invitational, the Lancers will be at Free State — both pools swim quickly and should see more Lancers qualify for state.

On Tuesday, Christian Hense qualified for the 200-yard individual medley with a 2:07.19, dropping his time by nearly three seconds. PJ Spencer dropped his consideration time seven tenths of a second after touching the wall in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.57, but he needs a 51.35 to outright qualify. Eric Bloomquist is seven seconds closer in the 500-yard freestyle. He needs a 5:18.03, but touched in 5:20.47.

“Everybody is starting to drop time and that’s the main thing,” Wright said. “They’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They have a couple more weeks of the season and I think they’re starting to see the light and I think they can do it.”

Spencer thought he had a great shot at qualifying on Tuesday.

“I thought I went out faster than I usually do,” Spencer said. “I was really close and I think I can do it next time.”

He thinks his final turn can be better, which he said should shave off those final two tenths. He added him breathing frequently slows him down and thinks if he cuts down that will also help drop time.

Spencer has already qualified for the 50-yard freestyle, so he’ll at least be at state swimming against the Mustangs trying to help his team to a third straight title.

“I think we both look really good here and I think it will be a good matchup at state,” Spencer said of BV North.