Boys swim looks towards league competition

Junior Aydan VanMeerhaeghe prepares for a race. Photo by Cassie Watkins.

Junior Aydan VanMeerhaeghe prepares for a race. Photo by Cassie Watkins.

Rylee Wilson, Editor in Chief

The De Soto High School boys’ swim team has been having a successful season, competing at five meets since the beginning of the season in December. The team consists of nine members this year.

Head coach Alissa Ruffin is excited about the talent the young team displays.

We lost three seniors last year but gained some underclassmen this year.  We have nine athletes and only one senior, so we look forward to having most of team returning next year as well as new faces joining our team,” Ruffin said.

Andre VanMeerhaeghe is the only senior on the team this year.

I feel like I am [a leader]. I’m just trying my best to help the other swimmers get their best, especially on the relays and on the individuals,” VanMeerhaeghe said.

As the team is small this year, they focus on individual success rather than placing as a team.

For the competitions, we’re not looking to place among other teams,” VanMeerhaeghe said. “We’re looking for individual personal records and individual success, and so far that’s what we’ve been getting.”

The team has been focusing on improving their technique during practice.

“Each practice is focused on general conditioning as well as stroke improvement.  We devote additional time to starts, turns, racing strategies, and fine-tuning details of each stroke,” Ruffin said.

VanMeerhaeghe feels the team’s limited practice time can be a challenge.

We only have an hour and a half to practice on a good day so we focus on yardage and doing dives off blocks, relay starts and turns to get faster,” VanMeerhaeghe said.

The team has one meet remaining before league, which will be held in Manhattan on Feb. 3. The team will then compete at league on Feb. 7 at Osawatomie.

VanMeerhaeghe  anticipates moving past the league competition.

“State for us is an added bonus. At the end we’re trying to get the fastest times we can. State is a plus, but some of us are really close,” VanMeerhaeghe said.