“On the plus side, every swimmer posted season or lifetime bests in at least one event, many with significant time drops. All three relays made season-best times.”
The top finishers for the Panthers were Bill Cummings and Cole Good. Cummings, the only Panther to earn a finals slot in a swimming event, cut more than three seconds from his seed time and finished sixth in the individual medley.
Diver Good, who was 11th following the preliminary rounds and 10th following the semis, scored 100 points on his last three dives on Saturday to jump to sixth place.
Cummings nearly made a second appearance in the finals in the butterfly when he cut almost 2.5 seconds from his seed time, but missed the championship finals by .01 seconds, and finished seventh by winning the consolation heat.
Swimming consolation heats along with Cummings were Quin Wetzel in the individual medley and the 500, Kyle Anderson and Jakob Bowers in the butterfly, Jarred LaPierre in the 500 and Nic Tracy in the backstroke.
Wetzel cut more than six seconds from his seed time in both the individual medley and the 500, finishing 11th in the individual medley and 10th in the 500. LaPierre cut more than six seconds from his time in the 500, to jump from ninth to eighth in the 500 consolation. Anderson and Bowers both cut time in the butterfly to finish ninth and 11th, respectively, and Tracy entered the consolation round in 10th, but climbed to eighth with a cut of nearly two seconds.
Dan McKearney missed the consolation swim in the 100 by less than a second, despite trimming two seconds from his seed time, and Edward Oursler knocked almost four seconds from his 200 time, but missed the consolation round by less than two seconds. Oursler suffered the same fate in the 500, where he cut 13 seconds but missed the consolation rounds.
Despite cutting time in the medley and 200 freestyle relays, neither team was able to crack the finals. The medley relay team cut three seconds from their seed time, but missed the sixth spot in the finals by .24 seconds. Their time in the finals was faster than two of the finals teams but the team had to settle for eighth place. The 200 free relay finished 10th.
“The biggest disappointment came in the 400 free relay, when an error on my part in the interpretation of an obscure high school championship rule caused our relay to be disqualified, “ Rodriguez said. “They would have placed sixth with their season best time and given us an additional 18 points.”
The additional points would have moved the Panthers into eighth place, and just two points short of Worland, who finished in seventh. Lander won the meet for the 15th year, followed by Buffalo, Lyman, Kemmerer, Douglas and Cody.
Ninth place was “not as good as I had hoped,” Rodriguez said.
“But it was not bad, considering that we only had one swimmer ranked in the top 12 in an event based on qualifying times going into the meet.”