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Making a splash

Star swimmer Tracy headed to major regional meet next week

Amanda Tracy is fast. A quick look at her times and state medals will tell you that.

But being recognized as fast in Wyoming is one thing. Getting the western United States to take notice of your speed is another.

And that’s exactly what Tracy will do July 31 through Aug. 4 in Fresno, Calif., at the 2013 Western Zone Senior Championships.

Tracy, only a sophomore at Powell High School, has already proven to be a top competitor in both the Wyoming high school and swim club circuits. She finished fourth in the 100 free and fifth in the 200 free at the Wyoming Class 3A state meet.

Tracy won the 200 back event at the 2013 Wyoming Summer Longcourse Championships in Gillette July 19-21. She was also the runner-up in the 200 IM, 200 free and 100 back in Gillette, a meet that featured competition from all of Wyoming’s four class levels.

She will compete in both the 50 and 100 free events, and an 800 relay (she will swim a 200-meter leg) in Fresno against some of the best swimmers in the region.

“There is a lot more competition, and it is sort of humbling to see how fast some of the swimmers are,” Tracy said.

But she didn’t make travel plans to concede.

“I don’t want to go all the way to California to do bad in my events,” she said.

Tracy’s confidence is balanced by humility.

“I expect myself to do well and to not add time, and to keep a positive attitude no matter what,” she said.

The event will take place at three 50-meter longcourse pools at Clovis North High School and Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif. Tracy normally competes in 25-yard pools, like the one she and her Powell teammates train in at the Powell Aquatic Center, but her past two meets have taken place at longcourse pools.

The Zone Championships will also be an outdoor meet, which adds yet another wrinkle to the competition.

Luckily for Tracy, she won’t be competing in the backstroke, which is the event most affected by sun and sky.

Still, the environment — from the pool, to the people, city and state — will be largely unfamiliar to Tracy, who hopes to have time to acclimate before the starter’s horn blows.

“I like to be on time to an event like this so I have time to adjust to the pool and my surroundings,” she said.

Tracy has made an effort to think of Zone like any other meet and not change her training.

“I try not to psych myself out too much, so I just try to keep my normal routine,” she said. “Just more resting and having good nutrition habits.”

The frequency of her training has increased since this time last year, when she competed in the Zone Championships in Grand Junction, Colo.

“I have dedicated this whole summer training for this meet,” Tracy said. “Last year I attended (only) 12 practices between winter state and summer state.”

Tracy’s experience last year has helped her not only train properly but to anticipate the high level of competition.

“I know what to expect,” she said. “And I know some of the members of the (Wyoming) team who are going.”

The training has slowed of late, as Tracy is tapering to rest her body and ensure a maximum performance at the competition. She said she has enjoyed the less-stressful practices.

“I don’t have to do as much as everybody else does,” Tracy said. “It’s been really nice. When I know I can do the event then I feel excited.”

So how does she feel about her two individual events?

“I am pretty excited for both of them,” she said.

Tracy’s concerns are of the practical sort. She said her only worries are swimming slower times, ripping her expensive swimsuit, running out of Gatorade and getting sunburned.

“It is supposed to be 104 degrees outside,” she said. “It is an outdoor pool and I really hate the heat.”

Tracy, 15, will be joined by her family, including her brother, Panther senior swimmer Nic Tracy, and another Panther swimmer, senior Edward Oursler, 17. Neither will be competing at the meet.

Wyoming will bring 27 swimmers (20 boys and seven girls) to compete in Fresno. The Western Zone consists of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

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