Shawnee Mission East won Topeka in two categories.
No fans were louder, and no swimmers were more emotional after their final race.
The Lancers finished third in the Kansas Class 6A state championship meet behind Wichita East and Lawrence Free State. Shawnee Mission East senior Emma Linscott won the 100-yard butterfly in what turned out to be one of Saturday's most entertaining races.
Linscott entered the finals having tied Wichita East's Katerina Savvides at 57.45 seconds in the preliminary race. Linscott did a bit better than that in the finals. She beat Savvides by 16-hundredths of a second and improved from her preliminary time by .39 seconds
Coach Ian Hutchinson said Linscott's impact with the Lancers has been profound.
"That was the toughest I've ever seen her race," he said. "Everybody in the school knows who she is, and on the swim team, she is the foundation of what the swim team is all about."
So, too, was the ever-present Shawnee Mission East crowd.
No group of fans were louder in either Class 6A or 5-1A. All wearing their matching state shirts, their roar certainly had an impact Saturday.
"I really wasn't sure how the meet was going to go coming into today," Hutchinson said. "We managed to sneak out points here and there and give ourselves a chance there at the end."
Hutchinson is in his first year at Shawnee Mission East — kind of. Hutchinson graduated a Lancer in 2004 and has returned to lead his alma mater.
He said he always knew how passionate the Lancer fans were about swimming, but coaching has given him a new lens to look through.
"I've gotten an even greater appreciation for the fans now as I've gotten older," he said. "I have a kid now, so I know what it means. I appreciate it even more than when I was in high school."
The fans' emotion came out in the swimmers as the relay team finished the last event, the 400-yard freestyle.
One by one, the Lancers finished their legs, slipped out of the pool. Reality hit.
Shawnee Mission East finished third with a team of Linscott, freshman Lauren McDougald, sophomore Ashleigh Espinoza and senior Izzy Smith. Each had their moment of realization, and it hit them all the same way — with tears.
Hutchinson said a lot of that comes from the countless hours the girls have sacrificed in the pool to improve, time away from their friends and families.
"It's a big deal to Shawnee Mission East," he said. "The energy and the emotion they put in is top notch. It's above anybody else."