By Matt Turer — email@example.com
Springfield, Mo. — It was more of a coronation than anything else for Glendale swimming and diving Saturday. One of the region’s most decorated swim programs, the Falcons took first in four events and finished in the points in seven of 12, taking home yet another Southwest Missouri Men’s Swim Championships team title.
Glendale started the day with Cole Earl taking first in the diving portion of the meet. Earl, a sophomore, in a favorite to finish on the podium at next weekend’s state meet in St. Peters, Mo.
Junior Henry Feyh took first for Glendale in the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.56) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.19).
“For him to get out there and just lead the way the whole race was great,” Glendale and Ozark swim coach Steve Boyce said. “He was putting a lot of pressure on himself to try to make things happen.”
Glendale set the pace of the meet from the start, winning the 200-yard medley relay (1:40.17) by nearly two full seconds over Joplin.
The Falcons finished with 225 total points. Ozark finished second with 191 points. The rest of the Top 10 was rounded out by Joplin (154), Kickapoo (149), Monett (126), Springfield Central (100), Nixa (94), Rogersville (84), Nevada (67) and Carthage (56).
“This is the biggest conference meet happening this close to state that there is in the state,” Boyce said. “Up in St. Louis they’re doing conference meets with eight or 10 teams. For us to have all of southwest Missouri come together and really battle it out is a lot of fun.
“We saw races today where all six guys made their state cut, so that’s a lot of fun to see. Then we’ll go up to state and all cheer for each other. We want everyone from the area to do well.”
Beyond Feyh, seven other swimmers recorded multiple Top 3 finishes.
Nixa junior Daniel Brinck took first in the 100-yard freestyle (48.83) and second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.61). Springfield Central’s Gabriel Ting won the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.22)
Avery Oelschlager, a Joplin sophomore, won the 100-yard butterfly (54.65) and took second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.27).
Kickapoo senior Mason Hatch finished second in the 100-yard freestyle (49.27) and first in the 50-yard freestyle (21.83).
Jorge Flores had a pair of second-place finishes for Glendale. The junior finished behind Feyh in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.90) and second (55.70) to Ozark senior Sam Clifford in the 100-yard backstroke. Clifford won that race in 54.61, leading the entire way.
“Clifford just went out and took charge of his race,” Boyce said. “His backstroke has been so good. He just keeps doing it faster and faster and is really having fun.”
Joplin senior Andrew Chesney finished third in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.44) and second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:08.50).
Long-distance specialist Cameron Smith, an Ozark senior, won the 500-yard freestyle (5:01.67).
“It was great to see Cameron win his 500,” Boyce said. “We talked about just being the man and taking charge of that race.”
Nevada’s Jake Asberry finished third in the 50-yard freestyle and second in the 100-yard butterfly (54.76).
Webb City’s Seth Jensen placed second in the 50-yard freestyle (22.45) and third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.40).
Kickapoo took first in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:30.83), finishing ahead of Glendale (1:31.88) and Rogersville (1:33.42). The Wildcats set a school record in that event.
Joplin then pulled a minor upset in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Ozark had the fastest time in Thursday’s heats by over three seconds, but the Eagles took first on Saturday (3:20.67). Ozark finished second (3:21.62) and Kickapoo third (3:23.87).
“You couldn’t hear anything in here during that last relay,” Boyce said. “It just gives them that sense of what it means to get up and go and how to mentally get prepared to swim on that big stage at state.”