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Oz-Paola boys are show well at state

WLH0199a The Osawatomie-Paola Boys swim team made a good showing at the 2009 Kansas State Swim Meet on Friday, February 20, in Topeka.

With the exception of Alex Weatherbie, everyone who attended on Friday got their first taste of competition at the state level, and to a man, they all were impressed with the event and the level of competition they saw.

Weatherbie, drawing on his experiences from last year, qualified for the consolation finals in both of his events, swimming a 50 yard freestyle time, only .02 seconds off his personal best state qualifying time, of 22.67 seconds, finished in 15th place overall, good enough for a swim on Saturday. Weatherbie shattered his qualifying time in the 100 yard freestyle by nearly a second and a half, gliding to a 50.28 second time which was good enough for 12th place overall and giving him his second Saturday swim.

In the consolation finals on Saturday, Weatherbie opened with a personal best in the 50 Yard Freestyle of 22.57 seconds which gave him 11th place overall. In the 100 Yard Freestyle he turned in a time of 50.35, only .07 seconds off his personal best of the day before to take 15th place in the meet.

"This was a very successful season for Alex and for the entire team. To be able to qualify 16 to the state meet was an important goal for us to reach," said Head Coach Sarah Dorsett " We won the ILC and everyone who stayed with it for the entire season improved and got faster.  As a coach, I couldn't ask for more. These young men represented their High Schools and communities well."

In the state championship meet, the top eight times out of all heats are placed in the “Championship” final on Saturday, those eight swimmers are guaranteed a medal and cannot finish lower than eighth in the event. The swimmers with the 9th through 16th fastest times are placed in a “Consolation” final, they cannot move up and are guaranteed placing between 9th and 16th in the meet.

Weatherbie had competed in last year’s meet, as the only Oz-Paola swimmer to qualify. He was not alone this year, as the team qualified two relay teams and Jared Auten qualified in two individual events.

WLH0168a Auten who, along with Weatherbie and several other members of the team has been a consistent force in his individual events, qualified for the 200 yard Individual Medley and the 100 yard Butterfly. The Osawatomie High School sophomore, may have had a few butterflies swimming in his first meet on a stage as big as this one, as he was not quite as fast in the water as he had been on the season.

In his first event, Auten swam a time of 2:16.91 in the 200 Yard IM, well off his time of 2:12.04 which got him into the field as the 24th and final qualifier. Auten finished 23rd overall in the event. Coming back in the 100 Yard Butterfly, Auten was just a half second slower than his qualifying time, swimming a 57.37 which was good for seventh place in his heat, and 21st overall.

The team also qualified two relay teams for the event. Swimming in the 200 Yard Medley relay, the team comprised of Osawatomie High School Swimmers, Auten, Daniel Dorsett, Stetson Jackson and Eli Waddle hit the pool first, and shaved nearly a second off their qualifying time, turning in a time of 1:46.10 which was good enough for 18th overall, barely missing a return trip to todays final action.

The 200 Yard Freestyle team of Weatherbie, Kyle Dietrich, James Teuscher and Gus Hart turned in a time of 1:37.57, but was disqualified when both Teuscher and Hart false started, leaving the blocks too early on their leg of the event.

In the regular season, relay teams are comprised of the four best swimmers, regardless of school affiliation, but in the state meet, all swimmers from a relay team must be from the same school, so the relay teams were listed as swimming for Osawatomie High School and Paola High School in their respective events.

Dorsett said she could see good things on the horizon for the Oz-Paola boys, and gave a couple of tips to the guys on how to continue to build on this year's successes.

"For swimmers to continue improving, they can take a little break, but they need to continue swimming under an organized program with a knowledgable coach," Dorsett said. "There is no one better in this area than Geri Hart and the Miami County YMCA Vipers. They are a USA Swimming team as well as a YMCA team, and Geri is entering her faster swimmers in regional meets if they have qualifying times. I am always looking for swimmers who will raise their own standards for improvement and there is ample opportunity here."