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February 15, 2011 8:38 am

Panther swimmers take fourth at conference meet

Written by Don Amend

Bill Cummings and Jarred LaPierre each reached the finals in two events to lead the Powell Panthers to a fourth-place finish in the West Conference swim meet in Cody last weekend.

Cummings scored the team’s highest finish by swimming to second in the butterfly and turned in a fourth in the individual medley. LaPierre finished third in the 500 and added a fourth in the 200.

Other Panther finalists were Nic Tracy in the backstroke, Quin Wetzel in the 500, Edward Oursler in the 200, Kyle Anderson and Jakob Bowers in the butterfly and Cole Good in diving. Tracy, Wetzel, Bowers, and Anderson also swam events in the consolation finals, as did Danny McKearney.

The medley relay team finished fourth, the 400 relay fifth and the 200 relay was sixth.

Cummings was third after the butterfly preliminaries, but cut more than half a second from his time on Saturday to climb into second. He made an even bigger cut, more than 3.5 seconds, from his sixth-place preliminary time in the individual medley to jump two places to make fourth place.

LaPierre also made a jump on Saturday. After finishing sixth in the 200 during the prelims, he chopped four seconds from his time on Saturday to finish fourth. He also improved his time in the 500 to hold on to third place. Tracy held on to his third place by reducing his time on Saturday and Wetzel cut almost two seconds to improve from fifth to fourth in the 500. Bowers fell from fifth to sixth in the butterfly despite cutting more than a second from his time when a Lyman swimmer cut almost two seconds from his time.

Good’s fifth place in diving came the hard way, thanks to a missed dive in the preliminaries that left him in ninth place. He climbed one spot during the semifinals, and hit his three dives in the finals to jump three more places.

In consolation swimming, Tracy finished 10th in the individual medley and Wetzel was 10th in the butterfly. Bowers was 11th in the 50 and McKearney was 12th. Anderson finished 12th in the backstroke and Jake Magill was the 12th-place diver.

Several swimmers just missed swimming on Saturday, including McKearney, who finished 13th in the 100 by .01 seconds. Good finished just over .2 seconds behind McKearney in 14th, but his time was fast enough to qualify for state in the event. Oursler finished just .2 seconds behind Good in 15th. Brennan Althoff came close, finishing 14th in the 50.

As a team, Powell finished in fourth in the meet. Perennial power Lander dominated the meet, but second through fourth places were closely contested, and no Powell swimmers qualified for the top 12 in either the 100 freesytle or the breaststroke.

“We managed to move into fourth place despite the fact that two events found us not having any swimmers in the consolations or finals,” said Coach Jerry Rodriguez. “Overall the guys swam well, and they should taper well going into the final days of the season.”

The swimmers will now begin tapering their training to be at their fastest during the state meet Feb. 25 and 26 in Gillette.

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