After a regular season that showed a lot of promise but was besieged by a flu bug that just wouldn’t go away, the Powell High School swimming and diving team had all the pieces in place over the weekend. The Panthers finished second at the 3A West Conference Championship.
Perennial 3A powerhouse Lander swam to the top spot with 342 points, followed by Powell with 247. Sublette County rounded out the top three with 192 points.
“We had a really good weekend,” said PHS head coach Stephanie Warren. “The boys swam even better than we had hoped they were going to, which was fantastic. We had some great time cuts for the different athletes, whether they were qualified for state or not.”
The Panthers did add one more state qualifier, bringing the total number of swimmers headed to state in two weeks to 14. PHS senior Pedro Teixeira, an exchange student from Brazil, qualified in the 100 butterfly, finishing ninth with a time of 1:10.11. Teixeira has become a team favorite in and out of the pool despite having no previous competitive swimming experience. Warren said she’s thrilled he’ll be making the trip to state.
“He [Teixeira] is pretty excited, and he’s going to try to qualify in the 100 breaststroke as well at this week’s last chance meet in Cody,” Warren said. “Not only did he qualify, he swam three seconds under the qualifying time. It was very exciting for him.”
Panther swimmer Richard Spann had another solid performance, finishing second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.08 and third in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:06.29. He also swam a leg in the 200 medley relay, finishing second alongside teammates Nate Johnston, Jay Cox and Bryce Hogen.
Hogen also took silver in diving with a score of 301.80, while teammate Trenton Wilson had perhaps the most impressive swim of the meet for the Panthers, finishing second in the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:36.73. That shaved 15 seconds off his time in the prelims.
“Trenton [Wilson] swam an amazing 500, both in Friday’s prelims and Saturday’s finals,” Warren said. “He swam a 5:51.08 on Friday, which was a great improvement from his personal best. Then on Saturday, he swam even faster. It was just an amazing event for him.”
Jay Cox was fourth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.73, and fifth in the 200 freestyle in a time of 2:04.81. Josh Wright took sixth in the 500 free, and was Powell’s top finisher in the 100 backstroke, finishing seventh with a time of 1:05.49.
“Josh Wright swam the 500, taking off 17 more seconds from his previous time,” Warren said. “Then he jumped in and swam the backstroke, and swam 10 seconds faster in that.”
In the 200 individual medley, Francis Rogers finished sixth in a time of 2:25.44, while Johnston placed eighth, with a time of 2:22.37.
“Nate [Johnston] is starting to feel better; he was able to start swimming a little bit better,” Warren said. “He didn’t exactly take off any time, but he’s also not tapered yet, so that’s not uncommon right now for the ones that are already qualified.”
The Panthers now have two weeks to prepare for the 3A State Championship in Gillette, Feb. 15-16. Warren said that time will be used for normal preparation, with tapering as the meet gets closer.
“We had a lot of kids do great things this weekend,” Warren said. “That gives us a little bit better picture about what we want to do with state with our qualifiers, where to put them in specific events. These two weeks will definitely help us in that way.”
1. Lander 342, 2. Powell 247, 3. Sublette County 192, 4. Riverton 174.5, 5. Lyman 151, 6. Kemmerer 144.5
200 Medley Relay
2. Richard Spann, Nate Johnston, Jay Cox, Bryce Hogen 150.99
5. Jay Cox 2:04.81, 7. Trenton Wilson 2:05.42, 10. Joe Rogers 2:13.00
6. Francis Rogers 2:25.44, 8. Nate Johnston 2:22.37
9. Bryce Hogen 25.62, 10. Joe Rogers 26.36
1 Mtr Diving
2. Bryce Hogen 301.80, 7. Cole Frank 215.85, 8. Ben Hawley 204.80
2. Richard Spann 56.08, 5. Ben Cannizzaro 1:05.62, 9. Pedro Teixeira 1:10.11
4. Jay Cox 53.73
2. Trenton Wilson 5:36.73, 5. Ben Cannizzaro 6:06.21, 6. Josh Wright 6:12.02, 7. Matthew Hobbs 6:07.76,
200 Freestyle Relay
5. Joe Rogers, Francis Rogers, Trenton Wilson, Bryce Hogen 1:46.40
7. Josh Wright 1:05.49, 8. Matthew Hobbs 1:11.74
3. Richard Spann 1:06.29, 6. Nate Johnston 1:09.10, 11. Cole Frank 1:16.17, 12. Francis Rogers 1:17.00
400 Freestyle Relay
4. Richard Spann, Joe Rogers, Jay Cox, Nate Johnston 3:45.88