“Some of the girls have cut a lot of time since we started,” said Coach Luke Robertson. “They’ve been doing well.”
Swimmers are placed in heats and lanes based on their seed times, their best times in previous competitions, and last week, 10 swimmers lowered their seed times during the Cody dual meet and Jackson Invitational.
The biggest reductions in time usually come in the longer races, and last week, two girls swimming the 200-yard freestyle managed double digit reductions in their times. Bianca Larsen cut 11 seconds in Jackson and Racheal Bright managed a 10-second reduction in Cody. Amy Danforth made a double digit cut in the 500, swimming the distance just over 10 seconds faster than her seed time.
Larsen also cut time in three other events, swimming the 100 more than 4.5 seconds faster and the backstroke second faster, and she shaved a tenth of a second from her time in the 50, an event where cutting a fraction from your time is a big achievement. Danforth also achieved cuts in three other times, including a cut of nearly .4 seconds in the 50, two seconds in the 100 and almost four in the 200.
Three other swimmers cut time in two events during the weekend. Devin Rausch was four seconds faster in the 100 and almost two seconds faster in the breaststroke. Katelyn Lang cut four seconds in the 100 and almost 2.5 seconds in the breaststroke, and Reba Lawrence was six seconds faster in the backstroke and about 4.5 seconds faster in the 200.
Celine Hall cut three seconds from her 500 time and Alli Briggs cut .8 seconds in the 50. SaraJean O’Neill cut .9 seconds in the 50 and Gretchen Moretti cut more than a second from her seed time in the breaststroke.
While only one new Lady Panther, Sarah Wurzel, qualifed for state last week, Robertson said Lang’s swim in the breaststroke put her within two seconds of qualifying and Rausch is a little over three seconds from qualiying in the 100. He added that, while Lydia Allen did not cut her time in the butterfly last week, her seed time is just over five seconds from qualifying in that event.
The absence of nine swimmers due to injury, illness and other reasons hurt the Lady Panthers efforts last week, and they finished well behind Cody in their Park County dual. The medley relay team fininshed second to open the meet. Wurzel and O’Neill finished 1-2 in the 200 freestyle, and Allen’s fifth place evened the team scores after two events.
Cody swept the first three spots in the individual medley, with Hall finishing fourth, to give Cody the team lead permanently. Baxter Heinert and Belen Quillen finished second and fourth in the 50 and divers Hannah Sweet and Briggs earned points for fourth and fifth.
In the butterfly, Allen and O’Neill finished second and third as did Heinert and Rausch in the next event, the 100 freestyle. Quillen earned Powell’s second first-place finish in the 500, with Hall finishing fourth. The 200 relay finished third.
Three Lady Panthers finished in the top five in the backstroke, with Sarah Wurzel finishing first, Megan Curtis third and Reba Lawrence fourth. Katelyn Lang was third in the breaststroke.
Powell ended the meet by taking first and third in the 400 freestyle relay. Wurzel, O’Neill, Quillen and Heinert took first place while Allen, Larsen, Lawrence and Curtis combined for third.
The final score was Cody 108, Powell 75.
The Lady Panthers will continue their quest for faster times at home Friday when a powerful Lander team visits the Powell Aquatic Center. Robertson expects most of the swimmers missing last week will be in the water for the meet, which begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, Powell will make the trip to Worland to swim in the Worland Invitational, beginning at 10 a.m.