Danny Did Right: Christie top swimmer
Following in the strokes of former Leavenworth High – and teammate – swimmer Brayden Love, was going to be a tough act for any Pioneer to follow in 2017-18.
But, senior Danny Christie was more than up for it.
Following a phenomenal one-and-done year for Love, who set numerous LVHS records before taking his talents to the NCAA D1 level, Christie set about just doing his job and swimming in ways only a Dory could be proud.
Of course, after finished second in the 100 butterfly at last week’s Class 5A state finals and then taking fourth in the 200 freestyle (both improvements from third and sixth the previous year), one could easily say the Leavenworth Times was Finding Danny after naming him its 2017-18 Select Boys’ Swimmer of the Year.
Christie earned second-team All Sunflower in a loaded, 6A, conference and earned first-team All State honors as well after his performance in Topeka.
He swam five state qualifying times in the same number of events, choosing to compete in the aforementioned swims.
Christie also was a member of the ninth-place 400 freestyle relay team and 11th-place 200-medley relay quartet.
“Danny is an outstanding student athlete,” LVHS head coach Kaley Wittrock said. “Not only is he a hard worker in the pool, day in and day out at practice, but he puts forth the effort to be a successful student athlete. Danny was named a Kansas Honor Scholar, Governor´s Scholar, and KMBC Hyvee Scholar Athlete this year based on his academic and athletic accomplishments.
“Danny is a great competitor and encourages his teammates to compete with the same drive and tenacity. Danny´s success has not negatively affected the person he is or how he treats others. He is humble and driven, friendly to his competitors, and constantly strives to do better or achieve more for himself and the team.”
Christie is humble and when speaking with him, he is very measured in his own speak of his own accomplishments.
“I couldn’t have accomplished this without the help of my friends, my teammates, my coaches…my club team, the Lancers, and everyone around me – my parents – my mom, my dad always pushing me to try to be better,” Christie said. “It feels pretty good I guess.”
Christie was put in the pool at the age of four mainly just to learn how to swim because “my parents wanted to make sure I wouldn’t drown.”
From survival instinct, Christie evolved into becoming a club swimmer for teams in Lawrence, Kansas City and of course, the Lancers.
“I’ve been swimming year-round for a long time now,” Christie said. “I can’t really remember (when he stopped swimming). I took a break last summer, but before that I can’t remember the last time when I did have a break. It’s been a pretty long and hard process.
“Anyone can pick up the sport and be good at it. I see a lot of potential in the people around me, people on the team. I am excited to see how they do next year, because I have high, high hopes for them.”
Swimming is a sport that Christie admits he’s always had to work at with a lot of time and effort mixed with some obvious talent.
“I just tried to build myself through hard work and try to be the best I can be, both academically and athletically and maintain that high standard for myself,” Christie said. “I can only thank my parents for that. My mom, my dad, they’ve always pushed me to have high expectations for myself and try to strive to something out of the ordinary.”
Christie always enjoyed swimming and after “freaking out a little bit” as a confused four-year-old, he embraced the challenges, the travel and the experiences growing up and meeting all types of people and seeing new and different places.
He ended up claiming six total state medals over his prep career so the work definitely paid off.
“It felt pretty good to finish things out well,” Christie said. “It still doesn’t feel like the end necessarily. Still kind of shocked that it ended so quickly. It was definitely a fun season. I couldn’t have spent a season with any better kids. It was a blast.
“I am sure there are going to be kids that are going to break the records because that’s what they do you know? I am really excited to see that. I can see our team becoming really competitive and breaking some of the records I have set.”
Christie admits he doesn’t know what will happen with his swimming career once he graduates – sharing that he hasn’t been recruited for the collegiate level – but he may walk on if need be or if his desire necessitates the move.
“I am not sure where I am going to college yet, it’s a long wait now,” Christie said. “We will see how it all turns out. When I go to college, I want to be a dual major in math and physics. I have always had a dream of being an astronaut or something. I know it sounds a little out of left field, but I have always been passionate about space and that whole adventure sort of deal.”
But the best thing was being a part of a rebuilding Pioneer swimming program that has seen a huge resurgence over the past two years.
“I am happy with that because we have some good kids on the team that are going to do great things,” Christie said. “Helping people achieve higher goals for themselves is something I have always liked to do and helping any way I could, has always been a pleasure for me. The coaches have been fantastic and couldn’t ask for any better coaches to have coached me for my senior year.”
THE REST OF THE SELECT
Zach Crumpacker, junior, Lansing – He brought home an 11th place state medal, was a KVL runner-up in two events and was a consistent point scorer for the Lions all season.
Kato Fischer, junior, Leavenworth High – Fischer was the lone individual state qualifier, outside of Christie, for the Pioneers and finished 16th in the 100 breaststroke, cutting over six seconds in the event throughout the season. He also swam on the team’s 11th-place 200 medley relay team and ninth-place 400-freestyle relay unit. He was also a part of two of the team´s school record breaking relays last year.
Weston Marshall, junior, Leavenworth – Marshall was a multiple-event state qualifier individually and cut over a second in his personal time in the 100 butterfly. “Weston was a valuable member of the team´s relays this season, (11th place 200-medley relay and ninth-place finishing in the 400-freestyle relay) swimming the second fastest split in the 400-freestyle relay for Leavenworth,” Wittrock said. “Weston was a part of three of the team´s school record breaking relays last year.”
Maxwell Walck, junior, Lansing – He was a state finalist and holds multiple school records. He was also a Kaw Valley League champion that qualified for the Class 5A state finals in multiple events. According to head coach Josh Floetke, he was voted in as a captain by his teammates for the 2018-19 season.
Jake Hamilton, junior, Lansing