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Panther swimmers try 4A competition

It was a tough field, and the Powell Panther swimmers didn’t score many points, but they showed promise for future gains last weekend at the Riverton Invitational.

Only four 3A  schools competed in the 15-team meet, and only Kemmerer managed to crack the top 10. Powell finished 14th.

Still, two more Panthers added their names to their list of state qualifiers and two other swimmers qualified in new events as well. Danny McKearney picked up his first qualifying time in the 500-yard freestyle, and Cole Good’s score in diving was good for a trip to state as well.

Billy Cummings qualified in his third event, slashing 10.3 seconds from his previous best in the butterfly, and Edward Oursler swam qualifying times in the individual medley and the 100 freestyle to bring his total of qualifying times to three as well.

Joining Cummings in making major cuts in their times were Sam Kuntz, who cut 12.73 seconds from his time in the 200 freestyle and Brennan Althoff, who knocked more than 15 seconds from his seed time in the 200 freestyle.

In the 50 freestyle McKearney cut over half a second from his time, a big cut in a short race, and is less than half a second from a qualifying time in the event. In addition, he came close to qualifying in the 100 freestyle when he swam the opening leg in 1:00.44, just .44 seconds from qualifying.

Powell’s only team scoring in the meet came on a pair of 11th place finishes. Nic Tracy finished 11th in the backstroke for the team’s only individual scoring swim, and he joined Cummings, Quin Wetzel and Edward Oursler to finish 11th in the medley relay.

Powell came close to scoring in several events, including the 400 freestyle relay team, McKearney, Oursler, Tracy and Cummings, finished 13th and missed scoring by about four seconds. The 200 freestyle relay team of Tyler McCauley, Garret Hall, Trevor Zickafoose and Althoff, finished 15th, as did Cummings in the butterfly and Good, who competed in a field of 35 divers. Oursler finished 17th in the 100 freestyle.

Coach Jerry Rodriguez said he felt the team swam well in the competition.

The swimmers next competition is Jan. 7, when they travel to a dual meet with Riverton. On Sat., July 8, they will host the annual Gene Dozah meet at the Powell Aquatic Center.

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