Other Varsity Sports

All-Metro swimming: Meet the best in the water for Wichita-area high schools in 2019

2019 All-Metro high school boys swimming and diving team
2019 All-Metro high school boys swimming and diving team The Wichita Eagle

200-Yard Medley Relay: Wichita East

Sam Hutchinson, Sr.; Jason Ooten, Jr.; Earl Hwang, Sr.; Drayden Bell, Fr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, East's 200 medley relay

The East relay thought it started the day with a state title, but a technological failure put the Aces’ 200-yard medley relay eight hundreths of a second behind Olathe East.

The Aces finished runners-up in the state meet at 1:35.98, a relay team record, bettering their preliminary time of 1:36.82.

200-Yard Freestyle: Hunter Rey - Maize South, So.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Maize South's Hunter Rey

Rey is one of the rising stars in the Wichita area ... and all of Kansas.

He finished second in the 200 free at the Class 5-1A state meet a touch behind Topeka Seaman senior Joshua Florence at 1:44.17.

Rey was the headline swimmer of the city of Maize this year and will be going forward.

What made 2019 special?

“Just making state this year was a big deal to me.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It’s important because you have to be really fast to earn All-Metro, and I worked really hard so I could be fast.”

200-Yard Individual Medley: Ben Patton - Trinity Academy, Sr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Trinity's Ben Patton

When Patton got on the blocks, heads started to turn.

Patton is arguably the top swimmer in Kansas and proved it at the Class 5-1A state meet. He set the state record in the 200-yard IM at 1:46.78, almost 12 second ahead of the field.

Patton is committed to swim at Missouri upon his graduation.

What made 2019 special?

“This year was different because it was my last year. I really just tried to savor every moment. It was kind of bittersweet, but it was really fun enjoying the last year with all my friends and teammates.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It’s really cool to be on the first team, definitely. It’s just an awesome honor to be selected for something I’ve been working my whole life for.”

50-Yard Freestyle: Drayden Bell - Wichita East, Fr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, East's Drayden Bell

Bell might be the top freshman swimmer in Kansas.

In his first state meet, he won the Class 6A 50 free at 20.73 seconds, edging a field with three seniors and a pair of juniors.

Bell was also part of the East 200-yard medley relay that also earned All-Metro honors.

What made 2019 special?

“It was my freshman year, so it was just being able to progress as far as I could and just keep doing it. Most freshmen at my age aren’t really at the level that I was able to become.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It means a lot. Not a lot of freshmen at all make the team, and I’m just fortunate and glad that I was able to make it.”

Diving: Christian Tafoya - Derby, Sr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Derby's Christian Tafoya

A four-time state qualifier, Tafoya reached a new height this year as a senior.

Tafoya finished third in Class 6A with 436.40 points, just eight points from the runner-up spot.

Tafoya earned the most points of all divers out of the Wichita area.

What made 2019 special?

“I made the All-Metro team. I probably wouldn’t be here it not for my teammates because they’re always pushing me to better them because I wasn’t too great at first.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It means a lot. A lot of dedication and hard work.”

100-Yard Butterfly: Aidan Scott - Independent, Jr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Independent's Aidan Scott

On one of the surprise teams in Kansas, Scott was the standout.

Scott took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly at 52.13. Scott lost some time from his prelim time at state but still helped the Panthers to a third-place team finish in Class 5-1A.

He returns in 2020 for what could be a special year.

What made 2019 special?

“We started with the goal of maybe pulling off a third place at state, and that’s exactly what we ended with.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“Wichita has a lot of talented swimmers, so it’s really an honor to be grouped in with them.”

100-Yard Freestyle: Aidan Gantenbein - Wichita Heights, Sr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Heights' Aidan Gantenbein

Gantenbein was the star on the state-champion Falcons’ state team.

He earned a third-place finish in the 100-yard free, one of the most competitive events in Kansas, at 47.77 seconds.

Gantenbein is signed to swim at Barton County upon his graduation and finished his career as a two-time team state champion.

What made 2019 special?

“This state was definitely the fastest it’s ever been. I’ve been swimming for eight years now, and this meet was crazy fast. To get chosen for the 100 was a really great opportunity because there were a lot of talented 100 swimmers in Kansas.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It’s a huge honor because getting chosen as one of the founders of this All-Metro team means a lot to me, getting recognized as one of the best swimmers in the Wichita area.”

500-Yard Freestyle: Alec Lebeda - Wichita Southeast, Sr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Southeast's Alec Lebeda

After taking a year out of the pool, Lebeda came back strong in 2019.

He earned a third-place finish in the Class 6A 500-yard free at 4:47.89.

Lebeda, a City League champion, carried the flag for Southeast at the Class 6A meet and earned his way onto the All-Metro team.

What made 2019 special?

“I took a year off and didn’t swim my junior year, so to come back and go to state and have a good time with my team, it meant a lot.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It’s an honor. I love being a part of something that I hope will have a great legacy. It should be good for the next years to come, and it’s just really cool coming out here with all my friends I’ve grown up with, seeing them all be honored and having a good time with them.”

200-Yard Freestyle Relay: Independent

Edward Sturm, Jr.; Daniel Jekov, Fr.; George Jekov, So.; Aidan Scott, Jr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Independent's 200 free relay

The Independent relay team made history.

Serving as the Panthers’ first full squad at the state meet, Independent finished runner-up to McPherson, about a second behind, at 1:28.97.

The entire Panthers relay team will return for a championship run in 2020.

100-Yard Backstroke: Isaac Hadorn - Wichita North, Jr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, North's Isaac Hadorn

One of the highest finishers in the Wichita area, Hadorn put on a show at state.

Finishing runner-up in the Class 6A 100-yard back at 52.72 seconds, Hadorn was the only North swimmer to earn a spot in the championship finals.

Hadorn also earned an eighth-place finish in the 200 free.

What made 2019 special?

“No. 1, I finally was able to place a lot higher in the 100 backstroke, and No. 2, our team is finally getting up there in the ranks. It’s kind of fun.”

How does it feel to make the Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It really does mean a lot because it is the first one, and for me to be the only one from my school on the first one is pretty cool, too.”

100-Yard Breaststroke: Nathan Chan - Classical School of Wichita, Jr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Classical's Nathan Chan

The first All-Metro selection in any sport out of the Classical School of Wichita, Chan put on a historic effort at the Class 5-1A state meet.

Earning a third-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke at 59.29 seconds, Chan will return for another go in 2020.

This season marked Classical’s first as a KSHSAA-sanctioned team.

What made 2019 special?

“It’s my first year at state, so that was really special to me.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It’s an honor to be chosen for my event. Growing up with all these dudes, I’ve known every single one of them since I was like 12 years old. It feels good to be part of the group.”

400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Wichita Heights

Ethan Jensen, So.; Evan Jensen, So.; Kamren Hall, Sr.; Aidan Gantenbein, Sr.

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Heights' 400 free relay

Heights’ 400-yard free relay wasn’t the top team in the Wichita area, but it had the biggest impact.

The Class 5-1A team title came down to the meet’s final event, and the Falcons needed to earn at least fifth to clinch their third title in five years.

Heights finished fifth at 3:21.11, and senior Aidan Gantenbein pulled the Falcons back in the final leg.

All-Metro Coach of the Year: Mitchell Wagner - Independent

2019 All-Metro boys swimming selection, Independent coach Mitchell Wagner

No Class 2A team had ever reached the podium before Independent did so this year.

The Panthers took third in Class 5-1A. Heights won the state championship and has about six times the enrollment.

Independent placed an individual or relay team into the championship final in all but two events.

What made 2019 special?

“This year was my biggest team that I’ve had since I’ve been coaching. For us to get third place this year was awesome. To see the level the boys performed at all year was cool to end on that note.”

How does it feel to make The Eagle’s inaugural All-Metro team?

“It means a lot to me. I’ve been in the sport for a long time as a swimmer and a coach, so to know all my hard work is going in the right direction. This is great to shed a positive light on the sport in the area, so I’m really appreciative for it.”

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