With basically the entire roster back, Platte County believes the time could be right to take a step forward.
The Pirates were second in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships last season, mostly behind the strength of seniors Caden DeLay and Jerry Orozco and developing relays infused with youth. DeLay ended up as their only qualifier for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships, and coach Bret Anderson wants to get back closer to the record-setting state group from 2015.
“We hope to compete more than the past season; we should be better than the previous season,” Anderson said.
DeLay capped an impressive season with a piece of history.
Late in the season, DeLay knocked off the oldest school record in the books, besting Josh Hulett’s previous school record mark set in 1996 by 1/100th of a second. DeLay’s time in the state preliminaries of the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, 0.84 seconds) not only earned him a spot in the consolation final but lowered the school record by about 2 seconds.
DeLay and Hulett are the only two swimmers in Platte County history to make a state final.
“Best part? State was pretty fun, but it was also sharing those memories with other guys,” said DeLay, who placed 16th at state in the breaststroke to earn his first state medal. “We were able to help the young guys see that experience.”
Orozco continues to seek his state debut after a solid junior season. He will set his sights on qualifying in the 100 butterfly, while Anderson believes junior Alex Beall should push for a state spot in the 100 backstroke.
Last season, DeLay, Orozco, Beall and junior Hunter Bowen made up Platte County’s 200 medley relay team, which finished second to Kearney in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships. In addition, senior Luke Hodson (long distance freestyle) and sophomores Joe Ragone (individual medley), Rhett Spell (short distance freestyle) and Baxter Stone (backstroke and breaststroke) give the Pirates a sense of depth.
Anderson also expects freshmen Ryan Dye, Luke Harms and Jacob Flynn to contribute right away.
“We still have our regular guys in our relays,” Orozco said. “We still have our usuals, but I’d be willing to look forward to other guys joining our relays.”
Added DeLay: “We are looking for people to push each other. We want people to fight for those spots, and Jerry and I are still fighting for them. We want everyone to get a chance to get that.”