Like many swimmers who will be aiming for a state championship in Topeka this Friday and Saturday, Spencer Krueger is an accomplished club swimmer.
He swam in big-time meets before and he’s even won a few. But unlike his club peers, Krueger has never competed at the high school state championships.
That’s because until this season, the Andover school district did not offer boys swimming. So now, as a senior at Andover Central, Krueger will make his first and last appearance at the state meet.
“I get nervous before any big meet, but I think I might be a little more nervous for this one because this has been the build-up of the last four years,” Krueger said. “I’ve never been able to see how well I would have done at state, so this is my one and only chance to prove myself. There’s a lot riding on it.”
Krueger enters the Class 5-1A meet with the third-fastest time (1 minute, 47.93 seconds) in the 200-yard freestyle field and the fifth-fastest time (49.06) in the 100 freestyle. He will swim in the preliminaries on Friday and hopes to qualify for the A finals in both of his individual races.
Andover Central coach Emily Chesser thinks Krueger could have a special meet.
“He has an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get to have and that’s because of his hard work,” Chesser said. “The thing about Spencer is he races. He’s aggressive and he wants to win. I’m really excited to see him swim, not only to medal, but I think he can throw down some pretty good times.”
Krueger has been a successful club swimmer for years for the Andover All-Stars, a club run by Al Stevenson out of the Andover YMCA.
For all those years, Krueger had to watch as his Wichita peers were able to compete in Topeka at the state meet. Now there’s no more guessing; Friday and Saturday will show just where Krueger and an upstart Andover Central team stand against the 5-1A competition.
“It’s great to see the high schools follow through with boys swimming, it’s a big plus and it’s going to get these kids some recognition finally at the high school level,” Stevenson said. “Spencer has been such a talented swimmer for us, so it’s going to be really neat to see him be able to compete in his senior year.”
But what has impressed Chesser so much about Krueger this season has been his leadership in launching the program.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the first heat or you’re the fastest one in your heat, Spencer are fully behind every one of his teammates,” Chesser said. “He’s just very involved and very supportive and I haven’t had to tell him to do any of those things. It’s just natural to him.”
For Krueger, who has four younger siblings that all swim, including Nicolas, who is also qualified for the state meet, he’s excited they will have an opportunity he didn’t.
“I’m so excited to see all of them come up through Andover Central and I know it’s going to be a great experience for them,” Krueger said. “I’m glad they’re going to get a chance to compete in high school swimming because it’s different than club and it’s exciting to be apart of a team like this.”
STATE BOYS SWIMMING
- When: Friday, 10 a.m. prelims; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. finals
- Where: Capitol Federal Natatorium, Topeka