Matt Morrow, the Kansas Class 5-1A Boys Swimming Coach of the Year in 2017, returns seven of eight state qualifiers from last year’s McPherson High team that took 10th in the state.
He also has 10 of his 11 letterwinners back.
But the one hole to fill is gigantic. Eric Gaeddert was the only senior last year and he’ll be remembered as one of the best swimmers in school history.
But with his largest squad ever, Morrow has plenty of candidates to make up for the points lost by Gaeddert’s graduation.
The Bullpups open their season on Thursday by competing in the Newton Invitational. The meet was originally scheduled for Tuesday but it was changed. The event starts at 1:30 p.m.
“We have as big a team as we’ve had since I’ve been coach and good swimmers top to bottom,” Morrow said. “With Eric Gaeddert graduating we have a big hole to fill, but we have a few more kids that can score points. I’m really looking forward to what I hope is another great season.”
Morrow said the Newton meet gives him a good idea where his team ranks as it’s always highly competitive.
“We will start out the season in Newton, which is always a good barometer for the year,” Morrow said.
In addition to finishing 10th in the state, the Bullpups were crowned league champions even though they were among the smallest teams in terms of numbers. However, they had several swimmers contribute a lot of “chunk” points.
Returnees include, with their events listed:
• SENIORS •
• Gavin Soukup – State Qualifier in 200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relay
• Carson Stone – State Qualifier in 100 Fly, 200 Medley Relay and 200 Free Relay
• Jori VanGoethem – State Qualifier in 100 Breaststroke and 200 Free Relay
• Abe Walker – State Alternate for 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relay
• JUNIORS •
• Zach LeBlanc – 100 Fly and 100 Free
• Rece Reiman – State Qualifier in 500 Free and 100 Back
• Gage Stafford – 100 Fly
• Silas Steinert – State Qualifier 200 Individual Medley and 100 Back
• Simon Steinert- 200 Free and 500 Free
• Dawson VanGoethem – State Qualifier 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Medley Relay and 400 Free Relay
• SOPHOMORES •
• Will Powers – State Qualifier 500 Free, 100 Back, 200 Medley Relay and 400 Free Relay
• Isaac Rickman – 50 Free and 100 Free
• Riley Shelton – 50 Free and 100 Free
Freshmen to watch are Cody Achilles, Logan Ediger, Alex Houston, Matt Powers, Collin Reiman and Rhys Vanderhoof.