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Panther swimmers and season celebrated

A photo slideshow accompanied by Sugarland’s “Stuck like glue” played from the overhead projector, prompting laughs, aws and a few groans from the crowd of Powell High School swimmers, divers and their parents.

Moments captured during the Panther girls’ season highlighted the strong bonds formed between players and coaches alike.

That bond was expressed Monday night at the team’s award ceremony, where head coach Luke Robertson recognized his swimmers for their hard work and positive attitudes.

Freshman Amanda Tracy was named the Panthers’ most valuable player. She also won two all-conference awards for finishing second in the 200 free and third in the 100 free at the 3A West Conference meet in Lander.

Senior captain Korrie Kalberer was named the most inspirational player. Kalberer battled injuries this season but was a team leader and loved by her teammates. Kalberer was noted for being friendly with everyone on the team and cherishing her time as a Panther swimmer.

Freshman Jace Sharp was named the team’s most improved swimmer.

Sophomores Stephanie Liggett and Gretchen Moretti also received all-conference awards, Liggett for her third-place finish in the 100 butterfly and Moretti for placing third in the 100 breaststroke in Lander.

Robertson gave his own, “coach’s awards” to recognize swimmers who stood out during the season.

Freshman Maggie Arross received the percent improvement award, for cutting the highest percentage of time off one race. Arross made an 18.5 percent improvement in the 100 free.

Sophomore Shelbe Chouinard earned the technique improvement award for taking her coaches’ advice and applying it to her strokes.

Sophomore Celine Hall won the extra gear award. Robertson said Hall learned how to turn on any extra gear and improve her times this year.

Sophomore Bianca Larsen won the flip turn award for working on and improving her flip turns.

Sophomore Reba Lawrence won the “positive attitude” award because she had an optimistic approach to swimming.

Junior Tellese Whitaker won the “courteous award” for displaying good sportsmanship

Rachel Wurzel was given the “extra mile” award for her dedication and hard work in practice.

Junior Katelyn Lang was recognized for not only never missing a practice, but for never missing even a minute of practice, Robertson said.

Junior captain Lydia Allen, freshman Taryn Bohlman, freshman Tristan Bohlman, Lang, Liggett, junior Hannah Sweet and Tracy were all awarded their first varsity letters.

Junior Baxter Heinert, Moretti, sophomore SarahJean O’Neill, junior Natalie Quillen, sophomore Devin Rausch and senior captain Sarah Wurzel received their second varsity letters.

Senior Courtenay Zorgati was the team’s only three-time letter earner.

Always appreciative and eager to pay the credit forward, Robertson thanked all of the people who helped to make the 2012 girls swim season a success.

He thanked parents for preparing team breakfasts and driving to meets and the Billings corn maze.

Robertson was also grateful for his dedicated coaching staff, Tanya Fawcett-Kay and Stephanie Warren.

He thanked assistant coach Fawcett-Kay for helping him keep things in perspective. He said assistant coach Stephanie Warren, who puts in much more work than her “half-time” status requires, has helped him learn how to coach.

Panther girls’ swim team coaches weren’t the only coaches Robertson gave credit to.

USA swimming head coach Jerry Rodriguez was recognized for laying a foundation of skills and instilling a work ethic into many of the girls that has paid off at the high school level.

Powell High School athletic director Tim Wormald and associate secretary Vicki Walsh were thanked for their support, both at the meets and behind the scenes.

Former Powell Tribune Panther swim team beat writer Don Amend was thanked for all of his hard work over the years. Robertson said the team is thinking about him and wishing him the best.

It was clear Monday night that those who enter into the Panther swim community, whether a swimmer, fan or reporter, are not quickly forgotten.

They’re stuck like glue.

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