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Railers gain qualifier at home meet

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton High School swimmer Andrew Barron starts the 100-yard butterfly Monday at the Newton Invitational II at the NHS Pool. Barron took second in the event with a state qualifying time.
Newton swimmer Kaden Anderson competes in the 500-yard freestyle Monday at the Newton Invitational II. Newton competes Friday and Saturday at the Wichita Northwest Invitational.
Newton swimmer Simon Hodges competes in the 100-yard freestyle Monday at the Newton Invitational II. Newton placed fifth out of 10 teams in the meet.
Newton swimmer Tryston Mitchell competes in the butterfly leg of the 200-yard medley relay at the Newton Invitational II.
Newton High School swimmer Justin Franz competes in the breaststroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay Monday in the Newton Invitational II.

After several postponements, the Newton High School boys swimming team finally got its second invitational meet of the season in the books, claiming an automatic state qualifier in the process.

The Railers finished fifth in the meet out of 10 teams. Andover won the meet with 279 points, followed by Andover Central at 227.5, Derby at 203.5, Maize South at 162 and Newton at 125.

The meet was competed in two sessions and scored by time.

“It was a good meet,” Newton coach Kim Powell said. “We haven’t had a lot of time drops. We’ve had a lot of hard practices and we’ve had a lot of meets back-to-back. We haven’t had a lot of recovery time. We’ve been working on a lot of technical things. We’re working on starts. We’re working a lot on turns. We’re trying to get a lot stuff in.”

Newton was led by Andrew Barron, who took second in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.59, breaking the automatic state qualifying time of 1:00.67. Barron cut 1.33 seconds off his best time this season.

Simon Hodge took third in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.49 seconds.

Creed Eckerberg placed fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.25 seconds.

Kaden Anderson finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle in 6:26.17.

The team of Otis Musser, Luke Schmidt, Hodge and Ekerberg finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:39.67, breaking the state consideration time (secondary qualifying time) of 1:43.31. The time was a 7.56-second time cut and missed the automatic state qualifying time by 1.28 seconds.

The team of Barron, Schmidt, Hodge and Ekerberg finished fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:55.14, a time cut of 2.46 seconds.

The Railers compete at the Wichita Northwest Invitational on Friday (diving) and Saturday (swimming).

“(The season) has been different, very different,” Powell said. “The guys have been doing very well. They are very respectful and have been listening. They have been working hard, very hard. I’m pretty proud of them. They want to get all three relays to state and some other individuals.”

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com