The Powell Swim Club wrapped up its summer season recently, with four swimmers competing at the 2018 Wyoming Summer Long Course Championship Swim Meet. The summer championship meet was held on the weekend of July 20 at the Campbell County School District Aquatic Center in Gillette.
“Powell Swim Club always manages to have one or two, and in some years more, swimmers making it in the top heats of preliminaries and then to finals,” said PSC head coach Stepahnie Diver. “For this championship meet, we had Nate Johnston and Joshua Wright who met those categories.”
Nate Johnston proved himself well in every event he swam, advancing to the finals in the events that held prelims and finals. During Friday’s prelims, Johnston took eighth in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 breaststroke, earning a spot in the finals.
“In both final events, he [Johnston] did amazingly well and placed eighth and fourth respectively, shaving time off in both,” Diver said.
Johnston also swam the 800 freestyle, “taking 28.83 seconds off of his seed time for a new time of 10:48.26” and a third-place finish, Diver said.
On Saturday, Johnston swam the 50 freestyle prelim, taking seventh with a new personal best of 29.93. In afternoon finals, Johnston placed fifth, improving again with a time of 28.95.
“The 50 freestyle is one of the most exciting events to watch at any swim meet,” Diver said. “There is a lot of adrenaline and energy leading up to the silence after the referee whistle blows calling the athletes up the blocks. Literally everyone there has their eyes on the competition and the volume level goes up quite a bit. In the case of Johnston’s 50 freestyle, all of those elements were present. What is even more exciting is when you look up on that scoreboard and you see a time that is less than what is printed in the program. We had that with Johnston’s 50m freestyle.”
Also on Saturday, Johnston competed in the timed finals of 200 breaststroke with a new personal best time of 2:54.53 and 200 Individual Medley with a new personal best time of 2:41.24. placing third and fifth, respectively. On Sunday, Johnston held his time-shaving streak for his 200 freestyle with a new personal best time of 2:27.54, taking seventh place as a timed final.
Johnston placed sixth in the prelims of his last event, the 100 backstroke. In the finals, he placed eighth with a time of 1:18.93.
“I feel that Johnston did fantastic work at this championship meet,” Diver said. “I honestly can’t wait to see what he will do in the future. His attitude is in the right place, he wants to work, he wants to set new records. He comes to practice and he puts the work in. I have no doubt that Johnston will make his mark in Wyoming with his swimming achievements.”
Joshua Wright, a longtime Powell Swim Club competitive swimmer, also had positive swims at Gillette in the 15-16 boys division. Wright completed the 200 backstroke on Friday, a timed final, where he earned eighth place with a time of 3:00.47.
On Saturday, Wright competed in the 50 freestyle, earning 15th place in the prelims with a time of 33.74. On Sunday, Wright placed seventh in the 100 backstroke prelims to make the finals. He swam to a seventh-place finish in the finals, beating his earlier time with a new personal best 1:20.84.
“For Wright, this event was a great highlight,” Diver said. “I was so happy for him, and I could see he was pleased as well. As his new coach this year, I know it has been a big transition for him getting used to me after having Jerry Rodriguez as his mentor from a young age.”
“Gabby Paterson competed very nicely in the girls 13-14 division, decreasing her time in every event she swam,” Diver said.
On Friday, Paterson earned 22nd place in the 100 freestyle prelims, taking 1.02 seconds off for a new personal best time of 1:15.74. She then swam the 100 breaststroke, earning 21st place and taking 1.18 seconds off for a new personal best of 1:41.99.
On Saturday, Paterson swam the 50 free, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley, where she earned new best times for each. On Sunday, Paterson swam the 200 freestyle, taking 1.01 seconds off for a new personal best time of 2:51.64.
“Paterson is the type of athlete every coach wants on their team,” Diver said. “She strives to do her best in practice and at meets. As I have mentioned before, she is always asking me how to improve. I give her the work to do, and she does it. She is another athlete that I have a feeling will make her mark in swimming [in] Wyoming.”
Kaitlin Diver competed in the 9-10 division, swimming to a sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle.
“There were only six competitors in this event, and even though she did add some time in this event, she swam it well and finished earning 13 points for the club,” coach Diver said. “She also competed in the 50 freestyle and placed 22nd in the preliminaries.”
Kaitlin Diver also braved the 100 butterfly and finished the event, even though she was disqualified for a few underwater recoveries.
“As her coach and her mother, I am so proud of her for trying these super difficult swims,” Coach Diver said.
The Powell Swim Club placed an emphasis on its 50 meter splits during its training for the summer season. When in town, the PSC trains in a 25-yard pool, adding several more turns when training for distance.
“Throughout the season, we practiced on where to speed it up during a distance race,” Diver explained. “The challenge comes when we compete in a 50 meter long course pool where we have fewer turns. In a long course pool, there are fewer turns and we have to figure out how to use those few turns and visualize each length differently.”
As a team this summer, the PSC competed in only two long course meets prior to the summer championship. Those meets served to give the swimmers a feel for the longer pool lenghts and some experience in competing in them.
“Overall, the Powell Swim Club did amazingly well for our small number of competitors at the 2018 Wyoming Summer Long Course Championship Swim Meet,” Diver said. The club’s summer season ends Aug. 10, with the winter season beginning on Sept. 4.