Powell swimmers win Worland Invitational

Posted 9/28/21

The Panther girls’ swim team continued its dominance Saturday, winning the Worland Invitational and qualifying two more swimmers for the state competition. That brings Powell High …

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Powell swimmers win Worland Invitational

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The Panther girls’ swim team continued its dominance Saturday, winning the Worland Invitational and qualifying two more swimmers for the state competition. That brings Powell High School’s total number of qualifiers to 17 just past the midway point of the season.

The Panthers won the meet with a total of 515 points, with Cody just behind at 308, Worland 303, Douglas 297, Buffalo 273, Riverton 180 and Newcastle 67. Rawlins was expected to compete, but was unable to attend due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

PHS coach Bob Smartt said scoring for the event went through 16 places, which was advantageous for a deep Panther swimming team. However, the conference championship in a month is expected to only score 12 swimmers.

The two new state qualifiers for the Panthers included Lily Halter in the 100 freestyle in a personal best 1:02.04, and Kylie Kahl in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:11.24.

“Thank you to Grace Sapp who gave up a highly likely win in the 100 backstroke in order to help pace Kahl to her state cut,” Smartt said.

Sapp swam 1:06 twice this season before swimming a 1:13.39 at the Worland Invite.

The Panthers won six of 12 events at the meet, starting with the 200 medley relay team of Grace Sapp, Emma Mitchell, Paige Thomas and Lily Halter, who posted a time of 2:01.46. Mitchell went on to win the 50 free (26.09) and the 100 breaststroke, taking that event by 6 seconds with a time of 1:14.06.

Other winners included: Kik Hayano in the 200 IM, where she posted a state-qualifying time of 2:32.73 and beat the field by 5 seconds; Kami Jensen with a score of 203.90 in six dives; and Kahl’s performance in the 100 back.

The Panthers continued to improve in their depth as well, with 11 personal best performances in Worland.

The biggest improvement came from Brinly Casey, who bested her 100 freestyle time by 11 seconds to 1:17.88. Azurdey Burton also showed growth, as she improved her 100 fly time by 3.6 seconds, dropping her time down to 1:19.08, just 3 seconds off of qualifying for state.

The Panther diving team kept its momentum rolling from their dual with Cody on Tuesday. Jensen had her second-highest score of the season and Taycee Walker finished second with a personal best 182.70 — an 11-point improvement over Tuesday. The Panthers also took seventh with Aramoni Brinkerhoff and 10th with Emma Brence, two divers who are coming back from recent illnesses. Additionally, Smartt said 13th-place finisher Yessinia Teague is rapidly beginning to improve her diving technique.

Each of the Panther’s relay teams recorded their best times of the season at the Worland meet.

The Powell team had high scoring events in the backstroke where they scored 59 points as a team, diving where they scored 56 and breaststroke where they scored 54 points.

Top scorers for the Panthers included Mitchell with 40 points, Hayano with 36, Gabby Paterson with 31, Sapp 21 and Thomas with 31.

On Saturday, the Panthers will head off across the state on one of their longest trips of the season to the Douglas Invitational, looking to continue their recent success.

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