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September 27, 2012 8:58 am

Sweet success for Panthers swim team

Written by Dante Geoffrey

Freshman Maggie Arross takes a breath in the first heat of the 100 yard freestyle race Tuesday against Cody at the Powell Aquatic Center. Freshman Maggie Arross takes a breath in the first heat of the 100 yard freestyle race Tuesday against Cody at the Powell Aquatic Center. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

For the second time in 11 days the Powell High School swim team beat Cody High School, and for the first time in three years, diver Hannah Sweet qualified for state.

The Panthers swept the Fillies on the season with a score of 108-78 Tuesday afternoon at the Powell Aquatic Center.

For Sweet, a junior, the qualification came as equal parts triumph and relief.

Sweet scored a 149.05 last Friday against Lander, falling a fraction of a point short of the 150 needed to qualify.

The frustration and heartbreak evident then on Sweet’s face was replaced by pride and ecstasy Tuesday night.

“I don’t have any words for it. It was awesome,” said Sweet, whose desire to be the first Lady Panther diver to qualify for state since 2009 was well known.

Sweet said she had been working towards this moment for three years, but this was the first year in which it seemed like a real possibility.

Sweet clinched her qualification on her sixth and final dive, a “double” that earned her more than 30 points. Her second-place score of 169.85 bested her previous career high by 20 points.

“She started off really strong,” said diving coach Stephanie Warren. “I wanted her to do her most solid dive at the beginning so she would start off feeling good. You could see she was having a good time and that her hard work paid off.”

Sweet emerged at the water’s surface after her final dive with an ear-to-ear smile, knowing she had finally done it. As Sweet climbed out of the pool a mob of Panther teammates surrounded her, eager to give hugs and congratulations to the overwhelmed diver.

“As soon as I saw her kick out above the water I was jumping up and down because I knew she got it,” Warren said. “I was very happy because I know how bad she wanted it.”

With only four meets left, including Cody, in which to qualify, Sweet had started to worry she was running out of time.

“But it’s all right now,” she said with a contented smile.

It was indeed, and for the rest of the Panther girls as well.

The Panthers won eight of the meet’s 12 events and outscored the Fillies in nine.

Senior captain Sarah Wurzel notched the first victory for the Panthers by swimming the 200 free in 2:26.25, just .6 seconds ahead of Powell sophomores SarahJean O’Neill and Devin Rausch.

O’Neill would later claim victory in the 100 breaststroke with her state qualifying time of 1:20.04. Junior Katelyn Lang finished third in the event and also qualified for state with a time of 1:24.26. Lang's first qualification of the year came after several near-misses in previous meets. Lang was within 1.69 seconds of qualifying Sept. 15 in Jackson and just 1.11 seconds short the day before in Lander.

Sophomores Gretchen Moretti and Stephanie Liggett finished one-two in the 200 IM. Both are qualified to compete in the event at state.

Liggett followed up her second-place finish in the 200 IM with a first-place finish in the 100 butterfly, another event in which she’s qualified.

Moretti won her second event of the afternoon with a qualifying time of 6:27.14 in the 500 free.

Freshman Amanda Tracy continued her dominance in freestyle sprints, taking first in both the 50- and 100-yard races. Tracy is qualified to compete in every freestyle event at state.

The Panthers also competed last Friday against Lander and Saturday at the Worland Invitational.

Powell lost 96-89 to Lander in a closely contested meet that came down to the final event.

Lander’s “A” team took first in 400 freestyle relay, followed by Powell’s A team. Had Powell won that event, it would have won the match.

But head coach Luke Robertson was still happy with his team’s effort and some of the individual accomplishments.

Taryn Bohlman had a stand-out day for the Panthers, qualifying for state in the 200 IM with a third place time of 2:43.58. She also finished third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:14.50.

Tracy took first in the 100 breaststroke and 200 free — both events she’s already qualified in.

The Panthers took second place at the Worland Invitational, again falling only to Lander.

Tracy was the lone first-place finisher for Powell, taking the 100 free with a time of 59.16. She also finished second in the 100 backstroke.

Courtenay Zorgati finished second in the 200 free, Moretti finished second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 IM and Sweet finished third in diving.

The Panthers swim team hosts Worland Oct. 4 at 5 p.m.

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