Varsity Kansas

East leads talented field into CL swim meet

The Heights swim team is one of the deepest coach Dale Heckman has had in his career.

"Any other year, we would have contended for the City League championship," said Heckman, whose teams won four straight titles from 2004-05 to 2007-08. "This team is much deeper than the ones I won city with. Much deeper."

Kapaun Mount Carmel, Bishop Carroll and Northwest have strong teams this season, too.

But following an undefeated regular season in the City League, East is the clear favorite to win its third straight league meet today at Northwest. Diving begins at 3:30 p.m. and racing at 7.

"Swimming is so hot right now in the city," said Heckman, who has two of the area's top swimmers in senior John Moreland and sophomore Kyle Cullinan. "There's so many good swimmers, and this will be a great meet. Second through fifth place, it's hard to say who will win it.

"It will be a really fun meet, battling out for second."

East coach Joe Hutchinson knows he's got a special team.

"We have a nice combination of depth and talent," Hutchinson said. "In years past, we've had a lot of depth, but we weren't winning a lot of events.

"Two years ago, we won the league meet without winning a single event. We have good depth still, but now we have kids who are winning, too."

Sophomore Jake Spitz, who will likely swim the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, is one of the area's top swimmers, but he's not the only one winning for East. Freshman Nate Pirner has been winning in breaststroke events, but also in the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle.

There's also sophomore Charlie King, who excels in the 200 free and the 500 free, along with freshman Brandon Shinsato in the 100 backstroke.

"It's nice that we have a bunch of guys spread out over all the events," Hutchinson said."... There's a lot of really good swimmers in the league. I think in other years, where we hadn't been as deep or as strong, it would have been a close race (at the league meet). Carroll, Kapaun, Heights, they're all very good. I think we're sort of lucky that everything has sort of come together for us timing wise."

Some of the other top swimmers in the City League are North's Logan Lassley, Carroll's Alex Khoury and Ben Karnes and Kapaun's Ryan Zwick.