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December 19, 2013 8:58 am

Panther swim team qualifies eight in opener

Written by Gib Mathers

Host Lander eased past the Powell High School boys in the swim meet Friday.

But the Panthers stepped up to the starting block nonetheless, with over half the team qualifying for state, taking first in five events and with some of their best-ever individual times.

The Panthers will have a chance to even the score when they host the Lander Valley High School Tigers at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Junior Billy Baker qualified for state in the 100 free and 100 backstroke. Junior Alex Bjornestad qualified in the 100 breaststroke. Senior Jakob Bowers qualified in the 50 free and 100 free. Sophomore Seth Fuller qualified in the 500 free and 100 backstroke. Senior Jake MaGill qualified in 1 meter diving. Senior Edward Oursler qualified in the 100 fly and 200 individual medley. Senior Nic Tracy qualified in the 100 backstroke and 100 fly. Sophomore Tyson Wages qualified in the 100 backstroke and in junior diving.

“These guys get to go to state already,” said PHS assistant Coach Jerry Rodriguez. “They did really well.”

“We had a great start,” said PHS Head Coach Stephanie Warren.

Bowers was first in the 50 free with a time of 24.61 and first in the 100 free with a time of 54.44.

Tracy swam to first in the 100 fly with 1:02.59, lowering his all-time best by 0.47. Tracy was first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.47.

Ben Wetzel nailed first in the 500 free with a time of 5:50.75. Wetzel also took second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:05.16.

Wages hit an all-time best in the 50 free at 28.69, shaving 2.14 seconds off his best time. In the same event, junior Ben Argento swam an all-time best with a time of 30.22, cutting his time by 0.79.

Quin Wetzel took second in the diving competition with 166 points, improving his all-time best in the event by 1.30 points. MaGill took third in the same event with152.55, improving his personal best by 13.10 points. 

Baker snatched second in the 100 free with 57.43, improving 0.39 on his personal best. Junior Cameron Lawrence squeezed in an all time best in the same event with a time of 1:18.11, improving by 0.01.

For his part in the 200 relay, Fuller’s time was 26.10, slicing his all time low by 1.58. Fuller took fifth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:09.10, dropping 1.59 from his best.

Bjornestad took second in the 100 breaststroke with 1:17.30, cutting 3.29 off his personal best.

The team of Tracy, Bowers, Oursler and Bjornestad took second in the 200 yard medley relay with a time of 1:52.33. In the same relay, Baker, Quin Wetzel, Fuller and Dan Liggett took third with a time of 2:00.29.

The Panthers should enjoy a home pool advantage Saturday. The downside is the divers will be in Laramie at a diving camp, so they will not add points to Powell’s total score, Warren said.

The Panthers had eight qualifiers at last week’s meet and hope more team members will qualify on Saturday. “I think Saturday will be another good meet,” Warren said.

“We got a really good bunch of guys this year,” Rodriguez said.

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