The Newton High School boys’ swimming team opened the season with a couple of event wins and a third-place team finish Thursday at the Newton Invitational I at the NHS Pool.
Andover Central won the eight-team meet with 354 points, followed by Andover at 293, Newton at 198 and Dodge City at 170.
“I am super proud of them,” Newton coach Kim Powell said. “Not coaching them last year and coming back to see them after two years, their speed has increased. They have come back bigger and stronger. We had some new guys come out and do well.”
Newton had a couple of injuries in the late events that forced some scratches and some realignment of the 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
Creed Ekerberg gave Newton a first-place finish in the first event, winning diving in 172.90. He was the sole diver in the meet.
“It wasn’t that much different from practice, but it was a lot of stress,” Ekerberg said. “You know you should take your time, but you shouldn’t keep everyone waiting. I was a little stressed there.”
Ekerberg struggled on his last two dives, bringing down his score.
“The second to last one was an accident,” he said. “I was supposed to have a twist dive, and I hadn’t done one in the season. I tried a forward one, which is what you saw. For my last one, I was going to do a different one and forgot to change it.”
Ekerberg won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.26, breaking the state consideration time (secondary qualifying time) of 24.70. The automatic time was 23.52.
“I had a good time for the first meet,” Ekerberg said. “I am hoping to get a 23 by the next two meets. Hopefully, by the end of this year or next year, I want to get the school record. I definitely think we can go to state in the relays.”
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Zach Engelken, Simon Hodge, Andrew Barron and Ekerberg finished third in 3:54.56, 2.2 seconds off the state consideration time.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Barron, Max Musser, James Tyrell and Ekerberg finished third in 1:56.84, which broke the state consideration time. The automatic qualifying time is 1:52.91.
Barron took second in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:05.29.
Engelken took third in the 100-yard freestyle in 56.81. Barron was fourth in 57.68.
Engelken finished fourth in the 50 free in 24.95.
Newton competes at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Maize Invitational at the Wichita Northwest YMCA.
“It will get faster,” Powell said. “Tomorrow, we’ll just review things what happened today. We’ll tweak some things and get our lineup set for Saturday.”
200-yd. freestyle — 14. Kennell N 3:16.44.
50-yd. freestyle — Newton exhibitions: Zac.Stenzel 27.23, O.Musser 29.55, Catache 30.40, McCallister 30.43, Jaso 31.01, Maeneke 33.09, Edgell 35.34, Friesen Guhr 36.59, Antle 39.39, Revel 39.88, Zad.Stenzel 47.49.
100-yd. freestyle — 13. Anderson N 1:04.21. Newton exhibitions: Dinneen 1:05.10, Zac.Stenzel 1:09.19, Catache 1:11.75, Maeneke 1:13.93, O.Musser 1:14.23, Jaso 1:15.14, McCallister 1:17.21, Friesen Guhr 1:24.52, Antle 1:39.54.
200-yd. freestyle relay — 13. Newton B (Harder, Catache, Kennell, Maeneke) 2:08.14, 15. Newton C (Friesen Guhr, Jaso, McCallister, X.Mitchell) 2:19.17-x.
100-yd. breaststroke — 14. Dinneen N 1:26.48, 16. Schmidt N 1:26.85.