Powell High School’s girls swim team earned temporary bragging rights as the Big Horn Basin’s top orange and black team.
The Lady Panthers won a Thursday home dual with Worland, racking up 101 points to the visitors’ 82.
“It’s always nice and it feels good to come away with that,” said PHS head coach Luke Roberston. “But again, we’re just focusing on cutting time, qualifying girls for state and getting them ready for their taper (before the state meet).”
Junior Rylie Kannard qualified for the Class 3A state meet in the 100-yard butterfly, cutting a whopping three seconds from the time she posted just a week ago.
“That was amazing,” Roberston said of the improvement.
Sophomore Katrina Twitchell also qualified in the 500-yard freestyle, meaning eight members of the Powell team are now eligible for the 3A meet.
Prior qualifier Julia Kay O’Neill, a junior, added diving to her list of state events.
Other PHS athletes were close.
Junior Emily McCaslin missed qualifying in the 200-yard individual medley by less than one second. And in her first high school competition in the 200-yard free, freshman Anna Fuller was just five seconds off a qualifying time.
Powell’s swimmers also posted other personal bests and strong performances.
Claire Miner “really stood out” in a couple wins in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke, Robertson said. The senior triumphed in the former by 0.22 seconds and the latter by 0.09 seconds.
“I think those are just gutsy races where you’re able to just push through and out-touch your competitor,” Robertson said.
The coach had similar praise for his two relay teams: O’Neill, Caitlyn Miner, Claire Miner and Aspen Aguirre in the 200-medley and Kendyl Bohlman, Katie Brown, Fuller and Emily McCaslin in the 200-free.
“The times weren’t the fastest that they’ve been this year, but they did what it took to out-touch Worland,” Robertson said.
Senior Beth McCaslin cut two seconds off her previous best in the 200-free and was near her best time in the 100-back — “which is a good place for her to be, I think, at this point in the year,” Robertson said.
Junior Sydney Horton continued to better her time in the 500-free and sophomore Caitlyn Miner knocked roughly a second off her best in the 100-free.
“She looked really good in that event,” Robertson said of Miner.
Also impressing their coach were sophomore Anamia Davila and freshman Lauren Lejeune, who each swam the 200-IM for the first time.
Robertson makes all of his new swimmers compete in every single event during their first season. The medley is sometimes saved for the season’s end, but “they were ready at this point,” Roberston said of Davila and Lejeune.
The coach awarded the week’s “Pink Panther” swim cap to Lejeune for not only cheering, “but also having the confidence to swim that 200-IM.
“(She) gave it everything she had; made it through that event,” Robertson said.
Powell will host Cody at 5 p.m. Thursday, then participate in an invitational in Worland at 10 a.m. Saturday.
200 Medley Relay
1. Julia Kay O’Neill, Caitlyn Miner, Claire Miner and Aspen Aguirre 2:08.07, 3. Rylie Kannard, Emily McCaslin, Katie Brown and Katrina Twitchell 2:14.96, 5. Beth McCaslin, Lauren Lejeune, Gracie McLain and Sydney Horton 2:36.58
2. Kendyl Bohlman 2:27.97, 3. Anna Fuller 2:28.66, 5. Beth McCaslin 2:39.79, 6. Eliana Karhu 2:44.93, 7. Rachel Kuntz 2:48.43
1. O’Neill 2:38.10 (3A), 4. Emily McCaslin 2:44.89, 6. Ashlyn Aguirre 3:02.24, 7. Anamia Davila 3:18.82, 8. Lejeune 3:22.16
3. Twitchell 29.55, 5. Horton 32.06, 6. McLain 32.99
1. O’Neill 150.85 (3A), 3. Caitlyn Miner 131.65
1. Claire Miner 1:12.96 (3A), 3. Kannard 1:13.63 (3A), 4. Brown 1:17.77, 8. Kuntz 1:41.29
2. Caitlyn Miner 59.38 (4A), 5. Aspen Aguirre 1:08.15, 7. Ashlyn Aguirre 1:16.20, 8. Davila 1:20.95
2. Twitchell 6:38.84 (3A), 4. Horton 6:45.09, 6. Karhu 7:19.38, 7. McLain 7:22.01
200 Free Relay
1. Bohlman, Brown, Fuller and Emily McCaslin 2:01.73, 3. Lejeune, Kunz, Davila and Ashlyn Aguirre 2:18.88
1. Claire Miner 1:11.73 (3A), 3. Beth McCaslin 1:15.12, 4. Kannard 1:16.21, 5. Bohlman 1:12.38
1. Brown 1:25.08, 2. Emily McCaslin 1:27.50, 3. Fuller 1:27.89
400 Free Relay
2. Caitlyn Miner, Claire Miner, O’Neill and Aspen Aguirre 4:17.81, 3. Twitchell, Horton, Kannard and Bohlman 4:36.51, 5. Davila, Ashlyn Aguirre, McLain and Karhu 5:10.67