Andover girls swimmers claim AVCTL-II-IV championship
SALINA — A slow start to the season hasn't affected the Andover girls swimming team.
In fact, the Trojans are peaking at the right time after not having any state qualifying times until a couple of weeks ago.
On Friday, Andover won the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division II-IV with 391½ points, 137½ points better than runner-up McPherson at the Salina South Natatorium.
"I knew the kids would eventually kind of pop off and kind of start going fast again," Andover coach Bethany Bastain said. "It's just a gamechanger. The group of kids I have is really awesome.
"It's really awesome to come out here and see their hard work and their dedication just pay off throughout the whole year. It's just sweet to see these kids succeed. That's my favorite part of coaching is cheering them on and getting to watch them succeed."
The Trojans had three first-place finishes, led by Natalie Neugent in the 200-yard freestyle (2:01.16) and 100-yard butterfly (1:01.44). Kallisti Mandanis won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:15.16.
"It was really awesome," Neugent said of her first-place finishes. "I'm so excited. To represent (the) Trojans, I had a lot of fun racing."
Bastain said Neugent is a great kid when she's not swimming.
"She's just so easy to root for and she's an overall stud," she said. "She's sometimes really hard on herself, so it's really awesome to see her hard work pay off."
The Trojans also had a host of runner-up finishes from the 200-yard medley relay (1:56.54), Reagan Bayliff in the 50-yard freestyle (25.99), the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:44.72) and Emma Henry in the 100-yard breaststroke
Sami McClellan took third in the 50 free, recording a time of 27.55.
"I'm so blessed to have this group of girls," Neugent said. "It was really exciting. Just the energy kind of grew as the afternoon went on. It was super cool.
"It's such a cool feeling. All of these girls work so hard and I'm really excited to be able to represent them and swim with them each and every day."
The Trojans will now prepare for the Class 5-1A State Championships set for next Saturday at Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka.
"I think we're all looking forward to swimming next weekend, and racing and having a lot of fun getting up on the blocks and loving what we love to do," Neugent said.
Andover Central,El Dorado, Circle and Rose Hill were also apart of the meet.
The Jaguars took fifth with 196 points and had two third-place finishes from Cammille Robertson in the 200 free (2:10.52) and Claire Krueger in the 500-yard freestyle (5:49.65).
Circle took ninth as a team with 110 points. Georgia Devine had the top finish for the T-Bird, taking third in the 100 fly with a time of 1:03.63.
The Wildcats had four eighth-place finishes to lead them to a 10th-place finishe with 93 points. The finishes came from the 200 medley relay (2:24.24), Kenzie Anders in the 50 free (29.27), the 200 free relay (2:08.56) and Gwen Crank in the 100 breaststroke (1:23).
The Rockets finished 11th with 34 points. Rose Hill had two 10th place finishes in the 200 medley relay (2:39.88) and the 200 free relay (2:27.29).