Graduating 18 swimmers over the past two years has left the Powell Panther boys’ swim and dive team in a rebuilding stage of the program, with some talent returning from last year’s squad …
Graduating 18 swimmers over the past two years has left the Powell Panther boys’ swim and dive team in a rebuilding stage of the program, with some talent returning from last year’s squad vying for placements at state.
“We have some great potential coming up, but it’s definitely going to be a building year for our team,” coach Stephanie Warren said. “We have brand new swimmers and brand new divers with no experience to some experience so it’s hard to know what is going to happen.”
Some of the top returning talent for the Panthers includes a trio of seniors to lead the way.
That includes Gabe Rose who has been near the top for the Panthers throughout his career and had two top 10 individual finishes last year in addition to being part of a pair of relays for the team.
The other top swimmer in the water for Powell is Adam Williams, who joined later in the season last year after initially playing basketball.
“Adam is getting a full year this year which will be beneficial,” Warren said.
The final Panther making an impact is Jon Hawley, who was the top diver last year and finished sixth at the state meet.
He is one of two divers returning in the top six from last year, and will look to make an impact on the board again alongside a trio of diving teammates.
The other returning state qualifier for the team is Taggart Shumway, who placed 13th at state but will mix in alongside Hawley with incoming freshman Garrett Lennon.
“Garrett had a very successful diving season in middle school last year. All three of them went to BYU diving camp this summer and they were able to build on their skill sets there,” Warren said. “It’s already paying off in the first week of practice.”
Warren said they added another diver who is brand new in Michael Horner, who she said is picking things up quickly.
In addition to diving, Warren said Lennon will bring some experience to the pool alongside fellow freshman Gabe Buchholtz.
“He (Buchholtz) is coming from Lovell with some experience in USA Swimming,” Warren said.
Powell also returns several other swimmers who qualified for last year’s state meet, and will look to see growth early in the season.
The Panther swimmers graduated significant talent over the past two years in Wyoming, with Lander continuing to dominate at the top and seeking a 28th state title in Laramie in February.
“Individually is where we are going to be focusing,” Warren said. “Team wise I don’t think we are the only ones that have lost a lot of swimmers. We will see when we start competing against them. An average team size is 12 and we are a little above that (with 16) which is nice so hopefully that will maintain and stay.”
Those opportunities for the Panthers will come early and often, beginning at home on Friday with a tri against Worland and Cody at 5 p.m. at the Powell Aquatic Center.
The early season will continue in Park County on Saturday, heading to Cody to compete in an invitational at 10 a.m. at the Paul Stock Aquatic and Recreation Center.