Congratulations 2018 Graduates

2018 Seniors

Shawnee Mission East Boys Swim & Dive Graduating Seniors

Team Members

  • Will Benjamin – University of Kansas
  • Brian Christian – University of Missouri
  • Tyler Cunningham – Western Illinois University
  • Sam Fay – Creighton University
  • Aidan Holbrook – Iona College
  • Carter Kirkland – University of Arkansas
  • Ben Krebs – Johnson County Community College
  • Elias Lowland – University of Denver
  • Matthew McGannon – Texas Christian University
  • Denny Rice – Military Academy at West Point
  • Evan Root – Lindenwood University
  • Ben Scott – Kansas State University
  • Ben Shackelford – University of Denver
  • Dante Stokes – Pittsburgh State University
  • Thomas Sweat – Texas Christian University

Team Managers

  • Emma Linscott – University of Minnesota
  • Hannah McPhail – University of Kansas
  • Abby Walker – University of Denver

Team Mourns Passing of Coach Hank Krusen

Sadly, SME Swim Performance Consultant Hank Krusen passed away on Sunday, May 13th. A friend, coach, and mentor to generations of Kansas City swimmers, Hank had worked with the Lancer’s Boys team the last two years, helping them to their two most recent League and State titles.

Hank came to Shawnee Mission East after a long and successful career at Olathe Northwest, where he started the program in 2003 and remained as coach until 2016. Prior to that he had coached with Kansas City Blazers Swim Club and Homestead Country Club.

“He was a great coach and even a better mentor to the team,” said Junior PJ Spencer. “It just made us feel so good that we were able to make him as happy as he made us these past years,” referring to what Hank himself called “His Dream Job” as performance consultant with the boys team at SM East.

Hank was a fixture at practice and during the meets, despite the challenges his health issues posed while at SME. He focused his efforts with the JV and younger Varsity swimmers, helping them to refine their technique, to develop their racecraft, and to push themselves harder than they thought possible during practice and meets.

As Head Coach and longtime friend Wiley Wright describes, “Hank was a great teacher and leader that everyone could learn something from. We were very lucky to have him with the program the last two years.”

During practice or at a meet, Hank would station himself at the end of the pool just off to the side of the starting blocks, a calm presence, matched by a watchful eye that missed nothing. After a race, rather than lecture or criticize, he engaged each swimmer, asking questions, helping them develop the tools to analyze their own race, while offering pointers in technique or strategy that they could then reflect on.

His work with the freshman and sophomores this year resulted in dramatic improvements, both in technique and times for numerous swimmers, many of whom are poised to be part of the state team next year and will help carry on the tradition of achievement by SME Boys Swim & Dive.

It’s fitting for his legacy that in his last meet as coach, his team secured the Kansas 6A State Championship.

“Hank Krusen was more then a coach to everyone he came in contact with. He is the definition of a REAL person. From bringing out the best in people, to so eloquently letting you be yourself and making sure you were damn proud of it,” said Matt Christian, a team parent who swam for Hank at Homestead Country Club while growing up in the 1970s and 80s, and whose son Brian, a senior on the team, qualified for state this year under Hank’s tutelage.

The team embraced Hank, and he embraced the team. We’re saddened by his passing.

We want to express our condolences to his wife Betsy and his entire family. Arrangements are pending.

Comments are open for this post. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and remembrances.


SME Harbinger: Hank Krusen Fulfills His Dream Job

State Champs Visit the Capitol

Lancers Join Other State Champions At Governor’s Recognition Event

Twelve teams and 170 students, joined by coaches and family members, attended a special recognition event at the Capitol in Topeka, with Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, MD on Saturday, April 28th.

Each team met individually with Gov. Colyer in his ceremonial office, where he signed and presented a Certificate of Recognition to the team.

Those recognized included athletic champions like our Lancers, as well as debate, cheer/sprit, and Scholar Bowl competitors from across the state.

  • Ellis Cheer Team – Game Day Spirit Showcase
  • Arkansas City – Wrestling
  • Central Plains – Girls Basketball
  • Central Plains – Boys Basketball
  • Goddard – Wrestling
  • Kansas City-Piper – Debate
  • Olathe Northwest – Scholars Bowl
  • Shawnee Mission Northwest – Debate
  • Shawnee Mission East – Boys Swim & Dive
  • De Soto – Scholars Bowl
  • Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights – Game Day Spirit Showcase
  • Topeka-Washburn Rural – Debate

Members of the SM East State Champion Swim & Dive Team that attended:

  • Head Coach Wiley Wright
  • Manager Alex Gwin
  • Eric Blomquist
  • Tyler Cunningham
  • Andrew Few
  • Kaleb Hagg
  • Aidan Holbrook
  • Carter Kirkland
  • Elias Lowland
  • PJ Spencer
  • Pete Stanton

It was a nice event and well-deserved recognition for the team, who won their fourth straight 6A State Swim & Dive championship in February. Congratulations to the team, coaches, and parents for their hard work, dedication, and support.

Holbrook and Cunningham Confirm College Swim Plans

Two Lancers Sign With Division 1 Swim Programs

Signing Day at SM East

Aidan Holbrook commits to swim at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. Tyler Cunningham signs with Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.

Aidan Holbrook

Aidan Holbrook will swim at Iona College next year. He is a 2017 NISCA All-American, four-time letterman, four-time All-State team member, school record holder in the 500 Free, and school and state record holder in the 400 Free Relay. At the 6A State Championship in 2018 he finished 2nd in the 200 IM, 3rd in the 500 Free, and was a member of the state champion 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relay teams. In choosing Iona, he follows his brother Zack (SME class of 2014) who recently completed his college swim career at Iona.

Tyler Cunningham

Tyler Cunningham will swim at Western Illinois University next year. A flexible swimmer that has competed successfully in a wide array events at State over his four years at SM East, including the 200 IM and 100 Fly and the 200 and 500 Free. In 2018 Tyler finished 3rd in the 100 Fly, 5th in the 200 Free, and was a member of the 6th place 200 Medley Relay. He was also named as 1st Team All-State.

SME teammates

Teammates show their support for Holbrook and Cunningham.

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