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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Railer swimmers win home meet

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  • When Newton High School swimming coach Philip Schmidt took over the girls’ team this year, he thought he knew what he had.?The Railers had 13 freshmen out of a squad of 20, losing several high-scoring state medalists. Schmidt thought he might have a little rebuilding to do.?After winning for the second time in three meets, Schmidt may have to revise his expectations.?“Things are a little different than I was led to believe,” Schmidt said. “We had a great season last year. We graduated a lot of seniors. I knew coming in I had 20 girls coming in, and 13 were freshmen. I thought this would be a rebuilding year. We’d have to work on a lot of things. The first practice, I was just blown away. (Newton Nitros Swim Club coach) Clinton Bailey did a great job with the club swimmers. They were in great shape from day one. I knew we would have a good team. I just didn’t know how we would stack up against other teams.”?The Railers won the seven-team Newton Invitational I Tuesday at the NHS pool. Newton edged Andover-Andover Central’s combined team 318-306. Wichita Trinity Academy was third at 169, followed by Derby at 165, McPherson at 164, El Dorado at 144 and Rose Hill at 28.?Newton claimed six new state qualifying times. Through three meets Newton has seven individuals qualified in nine of the 12 events, along with all three relays.?“I was just really pleased,” Schmidt said. “Some of the (seeding) times I used was from a time trial in the second week of practice. We just haven’t had enough meets to give everybody a shot. When I move them around, they are really surprising me and them and really dropped some serious time. Lauren Couchmen dropped 22 seconds from time trials (in the 500-yard freestyle) and made state. Hannah Robinson dropped 19 seconds from time trials and made state.?“It’s interesting, the difference between the boys and girls. The girls come out and are already able to swim all the strokes. It’s just giving them those opportunities to do it in a meet. We’ve got quite a few state events already.”?Hana Robinson took second in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:51.89, a time cut of 18.32 seconds and a state qualifying time.?Robinson took third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:17.22, an event which she already qualified for state. In a slower heat, Jessi Stucky finished fourth in 1:21.55, a time cut of 11.09 seconds and just shy of the state mark.?Rebecca Schrag took third in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:22.37, followed by Olivia Sailors in fourth in 2:23.30.?Katrina Gerbrand took third in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:07.59. Gerbrand was fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:07.14, a state qualifying time and a 5.31 second time cut.?The 200-yard medley relay team of Sophia Miller, Robinson, Gerbrand and Emilie Holler finished second in 2:06.80. The B relay of Couchmen, Jessi Stucky, Emily O’Meara and Courtney Spreier finished fourth in 2:11.88.?The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Robinson, Erin Bergen, Couchmen and Gerbrand took third in 4:18.48. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Holler, Erin Bergen, O’Meara and Schrag finished third in 1:58.42.?O’Meara took third in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:01.98, a 5.28 second time cut. O’Meara placed out of a slower heat. O’Meara swam a 2:38.01 in the 200-yard individual medley to qualify for state. She didn’t place in the individual medley, as she was an exhibition entry.?Holler finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:35.25, a 1.68 second time cut and a state qualifying time. Miller was fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:37.42, also a state qualifying time.?Lauren Couchman finished sixth in the 500-freestyle in 6:15.65, a state qualifying time.?Newton has three meets scheduled for next 10 days. The Railers compete at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Wichita Northwest Invitational, followed by the Campus Invitational at 4 p.m. Tuesday and the El Dorado Invitational April 19.?“We have a lot of people qualified for state and a number of girls knocking on the door,” Schmidt said. “I will expect another few next week. Northwest is a good meet with a lot of quality teams. That’s another meet to make some time cuts.”

     

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