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Barton Swimming making a splash in first two days at Nationals, men in 5th and women 11th #GoBarton

Barton swim teams at nationals

A pair of firsts occurred for the Barton Community College swim teams this week. First, the men's and women's teams made its national debut in the NJCAA National Swimming and Diving Championships. The second historic achievement was earning its first ever medalist as the Cougars went on to add six more top eight placings within the opening two days of competition held at the Anne Wilder Aquatic Complex on the campus of Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Finishing the opening round of action in fifth place, the Cougar men remain in fifth place after the second day while the Lady Cougars slipped from their tenth spot on Wednesday to No. 11 headed to Friday's action beginning at 8:30 a.m. Central Time.  Coverage links can be found on the schedule tab of the Barton Athletic website located at

Day 1 Recap:
Great Bend's Sean Williams will officially be recorded as the first Barton swim medalist, taking 8th place in the 50 yard breaststroke. Seeded 10th in the event, Williams clocked a 28.13 in the prelims to advance to the finals with the 8th spot.

Two races later El Dorado's Keagan Wilson became the second medalist clocking a 21.33 in the 50 freestyle prelims before a slightly slower evening session to finishing in 7th place. Freshman from San Antonio William Spitz improved on his prelim time and placing to earn the Cougars eight points with a 21.63 time and 10th place national finish to round out day one.

The Cougars 200 medley relay also exceeded expectations jumping from their seventh seeding to earn a 4th place finish as Dawson Gantenbein, Williams, Keagan Wilson, and Spitz clocked a 1:37.62.

The 30 relay points helped Barton concluded day one in fifth place out of the thirteen teams registering 61 points through twelve events.

On the Lady Cougars' side, Kayla Hennen bumped up three spots from her seeding to take 14th place in the opening 50 breaststroke (34.56). The Wichita freshman earned three team points and become the first Barton woman to earn points at the national meet.

Lawrence freshman Sydney Williams grabbed a point in the 1000 freestyle (12:22.32) with a 16th place while Scott City freshman Reagan Smyth concluded the individual events by earning four points in the 50 free in bettering her morning time with a 25.34 for a 13th national place.

The trio was joined by Mercedes Mahakijkittichai in the 200 medley relay for the final event of the day to place 10th in 2:03.33, earning another fourteen points to conclude the Lady Cougar national debut in 10th place with 22 points.

Day 2 Recap:
The Cougar 200 free relay got Barton off to a great start in the second day of competition bringing home a 3rd place finish as the fifth seeded tandem of Draper, Gantenbein, Spitz, and Wilson touched the wall in 1:26.75 for a big 32 points to begin the day.

Gantenbein became Barton's highest placer to date, beginning Thursday's individual events in the 50 backstroke with a 5th place (24.81) in the prelims before the Valley Center freshman took over the 4th spot in the evening's finals in a slightly slower 24.94. The event piled up 29 points for Barton as two more Cougars bettered their morning times as Wichita freshman Noah Childs held the 9th spot overall in 25.62 while Great Bend freshman Phane Pedigo moved up a spot in the evening round with a 26.45 to finish in 12th place.

Williams added three more points to the total with a 14th place in the ensuing 400 IM with a near second improvement from the morning rounds with a 4:37.88.

Also making an improvement from the morning, Wilson exceeded his 100 fly seventh seeding with a pair of 5th places in the two rounds, timing a best 51.54 to add fourteen more to the Cougar total.

Corey Harbaugh, one of four Great Bend freshmen on the squad, slipped two spots in the evening 200 freestyle session (1:54.92) for a one point 16th place.

Having begun the day in the relays, the Cougars capped the action with a 400 medley relay 6th place 3:38.54 time (Gantenbein, Williams, Wilson, Spitz) to move back into the 5th placing with 166 team points.

The Lady Cougars had a twenty-five point second day of competition to sit in 11th place with 47 total points.

Seven of the points came in the 100 fly with Smyth finishing in 11th (1:02.78) with Hennen placing 16th in 1:10.63. Both swam slightly faster in prelims, 1:02.66 and 1:09.60 respectively, with Smyth slipping just two spots in the evening session. The remaining eighteen points came in Thursday's concluding 400 medley relay event with Mahakijkittichai, Hennen, Smyth, and Williams clocking a 4:34.48 to place 9th overall.