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Panthers make a splash

Danny McKearney swims his way to third place and a state qualifying time in the 100-yard freestyle at the Gene Dozah Invitational at the Powell Aquatic Center Saturday. Danny McKearney swims his way to third place and a state qualifying time in the 100-yard freestyle at the Gene Dozah Invitational at the Powell Aquatic Center Saturday. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Five new qualifying times open year of Panthers

The Powell Panther swimmers kicked off the new year by posting two new qualifying times in Cody on Friday and adding three more Saturday at the Dozah Invitational in their home pool.

Freshman Jakob Bowers became the latest Panther to qualify for state in a five-team meet in Cody by swimming the butterfly in 1:14.28. Fellow freshman Quin Wetzel added two qualifying times to his resume, cutting more than five seconds from his time in the individual medley in Cody and following up at the Dozah by cutting nearly five seconds from his time in the 500-yard freestyle.

Danny McKearny took advantage of his home pool on Saturday in the 100 freestyle, breaking the one-minute barrier for a qualifying time. Edward Oursler clipped enough from his backstroke time to qualify in the backstroke in Cody and bettered that time by a whisker on Saturday.

Wetzel and Billy Cummings were the Panthers’ top individual finishers in Cody. Cummings finished third in the breaststroke and Wetzel in the 500. The 200 relay team finished third as well, with Cummings swimming the anchor leg behind Kyle Anderson, Bowers and McKearney.

Cummings also scored with a fifth place in the individual medley and diver Cole Good earned fifth in diving. Sixth-place finishers were Bowers in the butterfly and  Oursler in the backstroke. The medley relay team, Nic Tracy, Cummings, Wetzel and McKearney, and the 400 relay team, Oursler, Wetzel, Good and Anderson, also finished sixth.

Rounding out the team scoring in Cody were a eighth-place finish by McKearney, ninth places by Oursler, Anderson and Bowers, a 10th by Garrett Hall, two 11th places by Tracy and a 12th by Anderson.

At the Dozah meet, McKearney’s third in the 100 and Tracy’s third in the backstroke were the top finishes for the Panthers. Cummings, Tyler McCauley, Bowers and McKearney combined to finish fourth in the 200 relay and Good again placed fifth in diving.

Wetzel’s swim in the 500 was good for sixth, and he joined Tracy, Cummings and Oursler for another in the medley relay. The 400 relay team of McKearney, Good, Tracy and Oursler also finished sixth.

McKearney finished eighth in the 200, and ninth places were earned by Cummings in the individual medley, Bowers in the butterfly, Oursler in the backstroke and LaPierre in the breaststroke.

Rounding out the scoring were McCauley’s 11th in the breaststroke and Oursler’s 12th in the 50.

As a team, the Panthers finished fourth in Cody and fifth in the Dozah. Lander won both meets, with Riverton and Lyman finishing second and third. Powell edged Cody by six points for fourth in the Cody meet, but Cody turned the tables on Saturday, edging Powell by five points. Worland did not compete in Cody and finished sixth in the Dozah.

The Panthers will compete in two dual meets this week, hosting the Cody Broncs on Thursday and traveling to Worland on Saturday. The swimmers will hit the water at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Powell Aquatic Center and at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Worland pool.

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