It's been a long climb to the top for the Dodge City Lady Demon swim team, as their youth filled roster has found their stride midway through the season. After placing a couple of their relay teams in the State meet, the Demons have been able to let loose and display just how talented they are in the water.


It's been a long climb to the top for the Dodge City Lady Demon swim team, as their youth filled roster has found their stride midway through the season. After placing a couple of their relay teams in the State meet, the Demons have been able to let loose and display just how talented they are in the water.
     Despite coming painstakingly close to winning several meets this season, it has been something that has always eluded head coach Deena Hamilton and crew. But after the Hays Invite on Monday, the Demons can claim to be winless no more.
     In a brilliant display of swimming, Dodge City accumulated 304 points to win the invitational, beating out the host Hays Indians by more than 35 points. Junction City came in third with 200 points, with Campus (197.5), Liberal (171), and Hays-TMP (153) rounding out the standings in the six-team field.
     "The girls performed very well Monday in Hays. We placed first at this exact meet last year, and I was hoping we could repeat that success again this year," Hamilton said. "I know the girls wanted that first place spot and it showed in the results. We had a lot of individual swimmers get personal bests, and our new swimmers are continuing to show improvement."
     The Demons had seven individual champions in the pool, their most this season. On top of that, all three relay teams took home the gold, further dominating the standings and propelling them to their much deserved win.
     It was a stellar effort all-around from the cast of usual suspects, as Zhu Zhu Lundin Daniels placed first in the 100-yard fly and the 50-yard freestyle, two of her bread and butter events. Grace Royle continued to show major improvement as the season has progressed, capturing first in the 100 freestyle and second in the 100 backstroke.
     Other standout swimmers include Jenny Delzeit, who won the 100 breaststroke and set a new personal best by winning the 200-yard individual medley, Megan Gerard, who finished first in the 200 freestyle and set a personal best with a second place finish in the 100 freestyle, and Kari Keahey, who captured second in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
     Also making a splash were a couple of the newcomers attempting to make a name for themselves, as Tailor Lynch shaved 10 seconds off her best time in the 100 freestyle, showcasing some of the vast improvement shown by a roster filled with young talent.
     As for the relay teams, it was a clean sweep for all three. The 200 medley relay, which was swam by Talia Falcon, Delzeit, Keahey, and Royle, won with a time of 2:14.40, the 200 freestyle (Keahey, Falcon, Gerard, and Daniels) won in 1:56.83, and the 400 freestyle (Royle, Gerard, Delzeit, and Daniels) captured first in 4:16.34.
     Next up for the Demons is a solid challenge in Great Bend, as they look to close the gap even further in the Western Athletic Conference title race. It's a loaded field in a familiar pool that Hamilton hopes her squad can take advantage of come Friday.
     "I'm anxious to see how the girls do against the competition in a 12-team field," she said. "It's a pool they're familiar with and comfortable with, so I'm hoping to see even more improvement from Monday."