The Leavenworth Pioneers will dive into the state swim meet Friday and Saturday.
Leavenworth is sending six swimmers and two relay alternates to Topeka for the final swim meet of the season.
Weston Marshall will swim in the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay. Kato Fischer will swim in the 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and he is an alternate for the 400 free relay and has a state consideration time in the 100 freestyle. Curtis Springer’s events include the 100 butterfly, 200 medley relay, 200 and 400 free relay. Jack Schilling is in all three relays. Angel Morgan and Nick Walker are in the 400 free relay and are alternates in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay. Connor Engen and Jeb Marshall are relay alternates.
Head coach Kaley Wittrock said the preparation has gone well with the practices leading up to state.
“(Practices) have been really good,” Wittrock said. “We are working on small things like our turns and starts. Really refining our sprint work and techniques so we are ready to race.”
Fischer said that Wittrock has done a good job to help prepare the team for the state meet.
“Coach (Wittrock) has done a really good job of getting us prepared and tapering us for the big state meet,” Fischer said. “So that is when you start not limiting the amount of time you are in the water, but the yardage. However, you increase the intensity so your body is prepared for a meet-like environment.”
Practices and meets this season have seen interference from the weather. With school canceled and meets rescheduled, swimmers have had to swim outside of practice. Weston Marshall said he and others have swam on their own time.
“It’s been a little harder,” Marshall said. “But we put it out as a team to practice on your own if you can. I’ve gone and there have probably been five or six guys there as well. So we are not getting the hands-on with the coach, but still putting in the work and getting time in the water.”
This year saw Leavenworth return to 6A when the reclassifications were announced in September. The Pioneers are the smallest 6A school this year. The jump meant an extra challenge for the team with faster qualifying times which Wittrock said was a nice added challenge.
“The times were definitely tougher to get it,” Wittrock said. “It was kind of nice having that challenge where we were not getting relays right away. I really like the racing opportunities we have.”
Marshall said he is excited to prove that the team can still do well despite being the smallest school when asked what he is looking forward to the most with the meet.
“Probably showing that even though we are the smallest 6A school there, we can still do good,” Marshall said. “Even though we are 6A, we are not quitting or stopping. We are still working hard and training hard.”
Fischer said he is excited to show the rest of the state that the Pioneers are still completive and a good swim team.
“It’s just an opportunity for us to show that we are excited to be there,” Fischer said. “And that it is going to be a fun time.”
Wittrock said she is most excited for the preliminary swims with multiple swimmers seeded high in the top 16 or close.
Marshall is No. 15 in the 200 individual medley, Fischer is 11th in the 100 breast, the 200 medley relay team is ninth and the 400 relay team is No. 17. Marshall is also 22nd in the 100 butterfly. Springer is one behind him. Fischer is No. 24 in the 100 free and the 200 free relay is 20.
The preliminary session of the 6A swim meet starts at 10 a.m. Friday at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka. The finals will continue the next day starting at 10:30 a.m.