Lee’s Summit North emphatically showed who has the best swimmers in the Suburban Big Seven Conference Saturday.
The Broncos won all 11 non-diving events on the way to winning the conference meet at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center.
“I will have to admit, that is a first for me,” North coach Brian Ray said of winning every single swimming event. “It was pretty spectacular and very nerve-wracking. It doesn’t guarantee you win the conference title, but having that one or two at the top (of every event) is great. Having swimmers who can swim all ranges is good, and our guys are good and able to do that.”
Broncos senior Liam Bresette – the defending state champion in the 500-yard freestyle and state runner-up in the 200 individual medley – won the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 39.01 seconds) and 500 freestyle (4:40.19) and was part of the winning 200 medley (1:37.39) and 400 freestyle (3:17.19) relays to lead the way for North.
“Going into the season we aimed to get first in conference,” Bresette said. “With a lot of our guys, we knew we were going to take top placements, but we also had to worry about the teams who (had a lot of depth). We definitely had to have perfect races. We couldn’t have had anything less than perfect.”
Bresette broke his own conference and school record in the 200 freestyle by more than 2 seconds, and despite not training for the 500 freestyle this season, won that event by five body lengths.
“That’s what I was aiming to do in the 200 free,” he said. “We wanted to win every event, so I had to swim the 500. It was more painful than normal. It hurt since I haven’t been training for it, but it felt good to win.”
The 200 medley relay of Bresette, Andrew Bennett, Grant Godard and Daniel Worth also set conference and school records, breaking the conference record by nearly a second and shattering the North school record from 2013 by more than 2 seconds.
Godard noted the preparation the Broncos – who tallied 360.5 points – have put in this fall shows in their performances.
“The practices we’ve had and the way (Ray) has been coaching us, I feel like everyone is progressing really well through the season,” he said. “I think it’s the first time (a team sweeping the swimming events) has ever happened. It’s pretty memorable for our team to do that and it’s really exciting. We’re excited for state and that’s the next step.”
As an individual, Godard took gold in the 100 freestyle (47.99) and 100 backstroke (52.89).
Worth, a freshman, won the 100 breaststroke (58.77) and 200 individual medley (1:57.49).
“I was hoping to win one event at least,” Worth said, “and then when I won the second one I was ridiculously happy. I guess I got lucky and the training helped.”
Lance Godard, also a freshman, won the 50 freestyle (21.79) and 100 butterfly (51.66) in dominating fashion, winning the former by almost a second and the latter by nearly 2 seconds. He set the school record in the 100 butterfly and marked the only swimmer to break 22 seconds in the 50 freestyle.
“In preliminaries, I didn’t swim as well as I hoped, but I got really good encouragement going into finals and that helped me push through,” Lance Godard said.
The foursome of Bresette, Bennett, Jonathan Thomas and Lance Godard combined for the gold in the 400 freestyle relay (3:28.54).
Lance Godard noted the upperclassmen have done a good job of leading the team this season.
“Liam really helps keep us in line all the time,” he said. “He makes sure there’s no messing up, there’s no skipping and he tries to make us as perfect as possible. Grant is more of the hype man. He helps us through practice and cracks jokes.”
Blue Springs South diver Alex Burt marked the only non-Bronco to win an event, finishing first in the diving competition Thursday.
Chase Graham paced the Jaguars (270 points, fifth place) on Saturday with second-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:45.65) and 500 freestyle (4:47.18).
Tim Schweizer led Blue Springs (262 1/2 points, sixth place) with a third-place showing in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.48).
The Broncos now turn their attention to the state meet where they will be a contender to bring home a state plaque.
“We still have a lot of work to do to get ready for state,” Ray said. “State is a whole different caliber of swimmer and is a long meet and a tiring meet. Repeating this success will be difficult in that environment, but we think we have a really good shot at going at producing some strong swims.”