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Panther swimmers come back strong after holidays

Eight swimmers qualify in 15 new events

The Powell High School boys swimming and diving team added 15 more state qualifications in two meets last weekend.

The Panthers took second place at the Cody Quad on Friday, and third place Saturday at Powell’s own Gene Dozah Invitational.

“I was actually kind of surprised they swam as well as they did,” said assistant coach Jerry Rodriguez.

The Panthers were able to practice only three times during the holiday break due to the hours of operation at Powell Aquatic Center.

“We usually try to get more practices in but we didn’t have time to do that this year,” Rodriguez said. “That’s not the best way to train for swimming unfortunately but we’ll be catching up this week I think.”

Sophomore Billy Baker cut a whopping 19.37 seconds off of his 500 free time, now down to 6:16.80, adding his fourth qualification of the season.

Sophomore Alex Bjornestad added his second and third events, qualifying in the 500 free in Cody and the 200 IM in Powell with times of 6:12.60 and 2:32.72, respectively.

Junior Jakob Bowers added the 200 IM as well, swimming it in 2:31.43 for his fifth qualification.

Senior Jarred LaPierre, already qualified in every freestyle distance, added the 100 breast Saturday at the Gene Dozah with a time of 1:18.06.

Junior Edward Oursler added three events to give him a team-high eight qualifications. Oursler swam the 100 free in 55.75, the 100 back in 1:09.89, and the 100 fly in 1:10.70.

Junior Nic Tracy added the 50 and 100 free events, with personal best times of 25.64 and 2:10.33, respectively.

Sophomore Ben Wetzel completed the sweep of the free events by qualifying in the 50 and 500 freestyles races. He swam a 25.82 in the 50 free in Cody and a 5:43.17 in the 500 free in Powell.

Junior Quin Wetzel added three events in two days, the 100 back and free in Powell and the 200 free in Cody.

Rodriguez said besides the 15 new qualifications, every single member of the team swam at least one personal best time.

Quin Wetzel recorded five personal bests, Bjornestad had four, freshman Tyson Wages had three, eight swimmers had two and seven recorded one best time.

The Panthers were runners-up in Cody despite having only one event victory.

Saturday’s meet in Powell again featured only one Panther victory, LaPierre’s in the 500 free, but more time cuts.

Rodriguez said back-to-back meets help the team get used to the grueling grind of the regional and state meets, especially for those who swim in long-distance races.

“It’s actually good preparation for state and conference, because that’s the way those meets are,” he said.

The Panthers swim next in the Cody Triangular Friday at 5 p.m.

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