Other Varsity Sports

Maize readies for postseason swimming

With the boys state swimming meet six weeks away, Maize coach Hussein Yassine is confident in his team's chance.

"Jared Roberts, Mitchell Wagner, Kadn Diskan and Taylor Rice without a doubt will swim top eight in all events," said Yassine, a first-year coach. "We have a lot of depth and talent, and there's a lot of dedication there."

Roberts, a senior, finished sixth in the 500-yard freestyle as a junior. He was Maize's top finisher in 2009.

"He's an all-around swimmer," Yassine said. "He can do anything that I put him in. He'll do it, and he'll do it well."

Yassine expects Roberts to swim the 200 free and either the 500 free or the 100 butterfly.

Wagner swims the intermediate medley and the butterfly, while Diskan is a mid-distance swimmer whose best race is the 500 free.

Rice's strength is in the 1500 free.

"Once it gets closer to the end of the season and he gets more experience, I think he'll explode," Yassine said.

Maize has 37 swimmers out, with four who swim year-round for the Wichita Swim Club.

"We're an overall young team," Yassine said. "We have a lot of potential to do some great things in the future and this year."

He also coaches the Maize South team, which is in its first season. Greyson Heckman and Chance Dickinson lead Maize South's nine swimmers.

Yassine expects Heckman and Dickinson to make state cuts in multiple events.

Making a change — When North girls coach Megan VonFange was asked to take over the boys team, she didn't hesitate.

"I was excited to take it over because it's a program that's not as well-developed as our girls, so it's exciting to bring new blood to the program and give it life and energy and build it up to hopefully one day it can be a successful program."

VonFange, who also coaches summer swimmers, has found differences between coaching the boys and girls.

"It's just so different. The boys are just different because I don't think they are as in tune with their body as girls are, so it's not as easy to correct strokes or manipulate bodies. They use more upper body than their kicks.

"It's been interesting teaching them."

The program has already grown. North had about five swimmers last season; Von Fange now has 15. But only six of those athletes — including junior Logan Lassley — have swam on a team before.

"It's almost like starting from scratch," VonFange said. "You're taking something that's pretty foreign to them and they're learning it at 15, 16 years old."