Lansing High swimming has become a big deal.
Last season, with the buttress of a sparkling new facility on the school’s campus, head coaches Josh Floetke and David Bresser of the boys’ and girls’ saw their teams capture Kaw Valley League (KVL) titles in the penultimate year the program will compete in the conference.
Bresser, who also is an assistant for the boys’ team, says the improvement the program has made is a pleasant thing to see.
“In the last three years, we've had Lansing's first relays on the medal stand for both boys and girls,” Bresser said. “The boys achieved that feat just this past season in the 200 freestyle relay. In addition to the relay medalists, we've had many individual state medalists and finalists with multiple school records. The girls’ record board was re-written in just the last three seasons. The boys have broken the relay records every year for the last four years. The girls team has increased in size for the last years. This last year was our first year our boys team did not grow but that could be a result of graduating nine seniors the year before.
“Overall, our program has grown in size and respect. Our girls team has been recognized two years in row as a national Gold Level Scholar Team and we've had academic All-Americans. I think my recognition as the Coach of the Year shows the amount of respect our program has across the state and this is a reflection of our athletes. We host one of the most talked about meets in the state with the Lansing Relays with more schools asking to attend each year.”
Trey Meyers, the boys’ senior captain, says the program is built on hard work and commitment in and out of season, including the team’s camp that took place earlier in the summer.
“We do the summer recreational Sea Lions team, but for the most part we have just been hanging out and showing up for lap swim in the morning,” Meyers said. “When camp is going on we take it seriously. We put all of our hard work and dedication into it. We won the KVL last year and since it’s the last year of the KVL we want to go out with a bang and win it again.”
Senior Maggie Bell sees the popularity and growth of the programs tied to the convenience of having their own facility in the Lions’ backyard.
“Having our own pool is a really good opportunity for us and more people are more likely to come since you don’t have to go very far and people are able to come in and work in the morning or even (later in the day),” Bell said. “Now that we have the facility we are taking advantage of it and doing everything in the offseason so we can have a really good season when it starts.
“It’s available for us and convenient for us just to even go for a swim.”
This growth is also a byproduct of the work of Floetke.
“Coach Floetke is one of the reasons for the growth as he helped start the original team with only five boys and looking for a place to train,” Bresser said. “Just eight years ago he was driving that small team each day to Bonner Springs to use a couple lanes there to train. We eventually moved to the Riverfront Community Center where we shared pool time with two other teams – Leavenworth and Platte County from across the river. We didn't have some of the best training times, often using the pool after everything else was finished, sometimes not starting practice until 8 p.m. We always made the most of the situation. Now it is so nice to have our own facility with favorable practice times. One of the better aspects of having a pool on site is that the kids have more time and better hours to manage their studies.”
It all adds up to having a lot more opportunities to bring more Lansing swimmers into the fold.
“There are certainly more people who are coming out and doing swimming for boys and girls,” Meyers said. “We used to practice at the Riverfront Community Center and we didn’t have a lot of practice time so there weren’t a lot of people who showed up because of the drive. We got our new pool here and a lot more people slowly got interested and the school recognized the swim team more and came out and support us.
“It helps us put in our hours and work. Two years ago, when all of our current juniors showed up … there was massive interest.”
The girls’ program continues to accelerate behind the impact of newcomers every year that seem to come in with a lot of talent and boost the squad’s competitive level.
“We will have a lot of good swimmers next year and we are all putting in a lot of work,” Bell said. “I am excited. I think we are going to excel. We have a lot of girls who are dedicated to swim more than anything else, which is really cool.
“Freshman year there were a lot of people who did other sports. We do have some girls who play basketball and volleyball and even some who do cross country and swim, but we have a lot of people who have done swim a long time and know what they are doing and are ready to compete this year.”
With the boys’ swim season coming in winter, the team tries to take advantage of this time to get the reps in and move closer to being an even better swimmer.
“When these opportunities come we all want to stay in the water and we want to win the KVL next year,” Meyers said. “These months are crucial because they keep our energy up, especially with our season starting in October. All these months can count for something.”
The girls have to wait a good while until next spring, so they will do their best to keep their strokes fresh.
“We are going to try to do some practices during lap time,” Bell said. “It’s cool to have a swim camp because it’s important to work in the summer and be a team. It helps us to be ready for the school year.
“We will plan to do some captain’s practices and get together to hopefully go to weights.”
It’s all a part of the process of making Lansing one of the best programs in the state.
“I'm hoping we can keep this going,” Bresser said. “The KVL has been very good for our growth and improving our competitive edge as a developing team but I think the new league will be even better with respect to swimming. I'm hoping the league itself will continue to grow in the number of schools. I'd like to eventually have a large league championship meet requiring prelims and finals.”