The Sharks finally had opportunity to battle it out last week with Fort Scott, their biggest competitor in the SEK League, and Coffeyville. Eager to see how they would fare against the fastest kids in the league, many of the Sharks swimmers also receive off-season coaching and technique work from Kurt King, the coach of Coffeyville and were eager to showcase his handiwork with him in the audience. Needless to say, there was a tangible fierceness going in to this particular swim meet.
The Chanute Sharks began the evening with a beautifully sung National Anthem, courtesy of Amie Witten Jared, mother of Emma B’Hymer. Zoel Lopez then took the mic to honor two senior swimmers, Jalynn Schoenberger and Melanie Hallacy. Both girls have put countless hours of hard work into their sport, continuing to improve times and lead by example, and both will be missed dearly.
“When a swimmer competes from the time they were very young, they have a richer level of commitment and understanding of the sport.”
Josh Slansky (17) went head to head with Bobby Kemmerer, one of the fastest in the league, and brought home first place finishes in most of his races – Vittorio Kwek and Nate Stanley close behind. The A and B Medley Relay team in the 13-14 age group both smashed their previous times – the A team (Elle Kreighbaum, Emma B’Hymer, Larsen Koester and Xander Weilert) even beating their fastest ever race by 3 seconds with a time of 2:11.96. Serg Leon stepped in last minute to fill in for an absent teammate in the relays and added considerable power to his team.
“We are beginning to see the full transformation – the technique and conditioning are really showing up in their performances now as we close in on our finish to the season, with many of our mid-level swimmers demonstrating full proficiency and power in the water. It’s all coming together!” said Coach Betsy Olson. Chance Robinson (13), one of the swimmers who works with Coach Kurt King, made significant improvements in every single race – taking 11 seconds off his best 50 Fly time alone. Dagan Barney (10), a first-year swimmer, also improved his times in every single race. Margeaux Hood erased 12 seconds from her Individual Medley while Leah Burnett dominated the 25 Fly for the first time. Owen Hood (8), Madan Greve (7), Aila (11) and Lawson (8) Remboldt and Hannah Galt (11) (17 seconds off her IM!) all made dramatic time improvements and technique adjustments to their races. Warrick Olson (10), after several requests to swim longer races with the older boys, introduced himself to the 11-12 boys as a force to be reckoned with, swimming his first 100 free in 1:17 and taking second in the race.
It’s an exciting time, as the Sharks begin the countdown to the League Championship on July 27 here in Chanute. Positioning themselves to take home the trophy for the sixth year in a row, the Sharks hone in on turns, starts and finishes as they maintain their conditioning base. Carter Swader (10) and Ethan Diveley (8), Luke (7) and Logan Weilert (9) along with several others, put in extra time after practice to master racing starts.
“They were awesome. I’m so proud of these kids.” says coach Kellie King DeNoon. The enthusiastic and determined Chanute Sharks forcibly won the meet with a score of 410, to Fort Scott’s 242 and Coffeyville’s 70.
The Sharks finished the long evening with a playful, but competitive parent/coach race – Tricia Dillow, Chad and Tara Small, Amy Carter, Coach Olson, Jeb Grebat and a parent from Fort Scott all celebrated the competition and swam against several of their own kids. Coach Drake Gilmore, who filled an empty lane to swim against the 15-18 boys in several events, also teamed up with Coach Brit Eastman, Coach Olson and Drew Schoenberger to compete against the 15-18 free relay.
The Sharks compete in Fort Scott against the Hurricanes on Wednesday for their last regular season meet.