Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer
Rick Peterson


About a minute after having their three-year Centennial League boys swimming and diving championship reign ended by Manhattan a year ago, Washburn Rural's returning swimmers set their sights on taking that title back in the 2024 league meet.

WRuralswimteamCentennial 1Washburn Rural's swimming team poses with its Centennial League championship trophy Thursday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

The Junior Blues made that happen on Thursday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium, winning eight of 12 events while setting four Centennial League records on the way to a 484-439 victory over Manhattan, giving Janson Garman the team title in his first year as Rural's coach.

Senior Will Powell won four gold medals on the day and had a hand in three league records while seniors Brogan Meier and Jack Miranda captured three gold medals on the day, with Meier was a part of two league records and Miranda one.

"We were ready this time,'' Powell said. "We were so prepared. It was all about racing and we came back and took it.''

 Powell set a Centennial League record in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.71 seconds and also swam on the Junior Blues' record-setting 200 free relay (1:29.58) and 400 relay (3:18.32) and added a victory in the 100 free (47.52).

"It was a huge bonus,'' Powell said of the league records. "A lot of us were waiting for these time drops and today was the day, it all came together.

"This year's been the best year we've ever had. We've had the best team, the most motivation. We really came together this year and we all just pushed each other to our limits.''

Meier set a league record in the 100 butterfly (51.05) and was part of the league-record performance in the 200 free relay and also won the 100 backstroke (53.77) while Miranda was part of the record-setting 400 relay and won the 200 freestyle (1:47.30) and the 500 free (4:50.00).

Meier said he purposely took a look at the meet records hearing into Thursday, just to have an idea of what the Junior Blues needed to do.

"Actually, I approached our AD, (Charlie) Nimz like a week back and asked him about the league records,'' Meier said. "I was like, 'I want to know what our goal is going in there,' because after last year not only were we hungry for records, we were hungry for a win.

"We lost by like 40 to Manhattan last year and we wanted to come out strong this year. We wanted to come out swinging and we had the league records in the back of our minds but at the end of the day we just came here to race and if we broke a record that was a bonus on top of it.''

Luke Lemke swam on Rural's winning 200 free and 400 free relays while Elijah Leenerts swam on the 200 free relay and Daniel Allen swam on the 400 free relay.

Allen and Lemke went two-three in the 200 individual medley and Leenerts finished third in the breaststroke.

Meier, Allen, Miranda and Leenerts combined for a runnerup finish in the meet-opening 200 medley relay. 

WRjube1Washburn Rural swimming coach Janson Garman and his assistants jump into the pool to celebrate after Thursday's Centennial League championship. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

WRjube2Washburn Rural first-year head coach Janson Garman celebrates with his team after Thursday's Centennial League swimming championship. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Miranda said the senior-dominated Junior Blues knew they had to take advantage of their final opportunity to swim in the league meet.

"The pressure on this year, coming in being your last year, you have to take it all out on the water and leaving nothing behind,'' Miranda said. "It's just crazy getting to spend my last year with Brogan and Will and all my other senior buddies. It's super special and I don't think any other experience would be as special as this one.''

Topeka High junior Jaxon Cowdin won his second straight one-meter diving championship with a season-best score of 436.15 while his Trojan teammate Dominic Delgado made it a one-two High finish with a score of 340.10.

Rural's Powell, Miranda, Meier and Allen and Topeka High's Cowdin earned first-team All-Centennial League recognition.

Coming up next Thursday through Saturday are the Class 6A and 5A-1A state meets, also at the Capitol Federal Natatorium.


At Capitol Federal Natatorium

Team scores

Washburn Rural 484, Manhattan 439, Topeka High 271, Junction City 256, Emporia 255, Hayden 181.

Individual results

200 medley relay -- 1. Manhattan (Max Steffensmeier, Willow Graves, Ethan Balman, Samson Staedtler), 1:38.33 (Centennial League record); 2. Washburn Rural, 1:41.22; 3. Junction City, 147.26.

200 freestyle -- 1. Jack Miranda, Washburn Rural, 1:47.30; 2. Kaiser Wymer, Manhattan, 1:51.26; 3. Adrian Duarte, Junction City, 1:59.87.

200 individual medley -- 1. Max Steffensmeier, Manhattan, 2:00.43; 2. Daniel Allen, Washburn Rural, 2;03.05; 3. Luke Lemke, Washburn Rural, 2:06.77.

50 freestyle -- 1. Will Powell, Washburn Rural, 21.71 (Centennial League record); 2. Mariano Palacian, Manhattan, 21.77; 3. Samson Staedtler, Manhattan, 22.13.

One meter diving -- 1. Jaxon Cowdin, Topeka High, 436.15; 2. Dominic Delgado, Topeka High, 340.10; 3. Alex Allemang, Emporia, 338.05.

100 butterfly -- 1. Brogan Meier, Washburn Rural, 51.05 (Centennial League record); 2. Ethan Balman, Manhattan, 52.04; 3. Noah Lamb, Junction City, 57.43. 

100 freestyle -- 1. Will Powell, Washburn Rural, 47.52; 2. Mariano Palacian, Manhattan, 48.59; 3. Samson Staedtler, Manhattan, 50.15.

500 freestyle -- 1. Jack Miranda, Washburn Rural, 4:50.00; 2. Willow Graves, Manhattan, 4:53.66; 3. Kaiser Wymer, Manhattan, 5:05.34. 

200 free relay -- 1. Washburn Rural (Elijah Leenerts, Luke Lemke, Will Powell, Brogan Meier), 1:29.58 (Centennial League record); 2. Manhattan, 1:29.59; 3. Junction City, 1:36.98.

100 backstroke -- 1. Brogan Meier, Washburn Rural, 53.77; 2. Max Steffensmeier, Manhattan, 55.77; 3. Ethan Balman, Manhattan, 57.44.

100 breastroke -- 1. Willow Graves, Manhattan, 1:00.83; 2. Creytin Sanner, Junction City, 1:01.78; 3. Elijah Leenerts, Washburn Rural, 1:05.64.

400 free relay -- 1. Washburn Rural (Will Powell, Luke Lemke, Daniel Allen, Jack Miranda), 3:18.32 (Centennial League record); 2. Manhattan, 3:18.73; 3. Washburn Rural 'B', 3:43.25.


First team

Will Powell, Washburn Rural; Brogan Meier, Washburn Rural; Jack Miranda, Washburn Rural; Willow Graves, Manhattan; Max Steffensmeier, Manhattan; Mariano Palacian, Manhattan; Kaiser Wymer, Manhattan; Ethan Balman, Manhattan; Samson Staedtler, Manhattan; Daniel Allen, Washburn Rural; Jaxon Cowdin, Topeka High.

Second team

Creytin Sanner, Junction City; Luke Lemke, Washburn Rural; Elijah Leenerts, Washburn Rural; Noah Lamb, Junction City; Andres Morao-Jaspe, Washburn Rural; Jack Dunn, Manhattan; Adrian Duarte, Junction City; Dawson Blankenship, Topeka High; Logan Woydziak, Emporia; Will Stewart, Topeka High; Dominic Delgado, Topeka High.




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