Lander Takes Second at 3A West Conference Swim Meet
By Susan Gray Gose
It was not the result the Lady Tigers had hoped for, but it was also not the meet they focus on. The Lander girls swimming and diving team took second place at the 3A West Conference meet–30 points behind winner Powell. It was the first time in four years the Tigers didn’t take home the trophy.
Despite being runners-up, coaches Shawna Morgan, Tim Hester, and Faith Hamilton weren’t too concerned. That’s because they have their sights set on the 3A State title in November, which the Tigers have won by over 100 points for each of the past three years.
With that in mind, the team held its hardest workout just two days before the conference meet. The Lady Tigers showed up sore and tired for prelims in Riverton on Friday. What made things tougher, most of their competition showed up in technical swimsuits, which can trim seconds from race times. The Tigers don’t wear technical suits until state, with the exception of swimmers who have not qualified yet for state but are close. (At this meet two Tigers wore tech suits for only one race each.)
“I was super proud of how the girls competed at conference,” said head coach Morgan. “That’s a hard meet to cut time at, and we had lots of personal bests.”
Two Tigers in particular weren’t slowed down by the hard week. Sophomore Ashlon Koch won the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events, while senior Olivia Fowler took first in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard backstroke, with room to spare. In the backstroke prelims, Fowler set a new conference record in 1:01.68–one of the fastest times in the state, including among 4A swimmers.
The 400-yard freestyle relay squad of Koch and Fowler, along with seniors Lily Gose and Leah Brown, had the only other win for Lander, taking first in 3:53.39, their fastest time of the season.
Senior Li Platz continued to perfect her diving, taking 6th with a new personal high score. Junior diver Skyler Woodruff placed eighth and scored enough points to qualify for state. Senior diver Grace Flint, who finished ninth, was only one disappointing point away from qualifying. She will have one more chance at the Last Chance meet this week.
Freshman Annabelle Nachazel and junior Jenny Bautz both raced fast enough for state-q times. Nachazel did it in the 500-yard freestyle, taking 10th, while Bautz accomplished it in the breastroke, finishing sixth. The Tigers state team now includes 16 athletes.
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Other Tigers with top-6 finishes at conference: freshman Lainy Duncan was second in the 200-yard IM and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle, Brown finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle, Gose was fifth in the 200-yard freestyle, senior McKella Stigers took fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke, and junior Kristen McPherson finished sixth in the 100-yard backstroke.
“State is going to be close and very exciting,” said Morgan. “We need to get some line-up stuff nailed down and need to work on our individual and relay starts. It would be cool if we had a big crowd up in Gillette to cheer us on!”
The team travels to Riverton for the Last Chance meet at 4 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 31, then to Gillette for the state meet on Nov. 7 and 8.
3A West Conference Finals Results, Oct. 26, 2019:
Team Scores: 1. Powell 307, 2. Lander 277, 3. Lyman 219, 4. Sublette 203, 5. Riverton 139, 6. Kemmerer 72
200-Yard Medley Relay: 1. Lyman 1:54.69, (H. Harper, Bry. Busskohl, Bro. Busskohl, S. Weston), 3. Lander 2:01.23 (O. Fowler, A. Koch, M. McPherson, A. Harms),
200-Yard Freestyle: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 2:02.40, 5. Lily Gose 2:13.67
200-Yard I.M.: 1. Olivia Fowler 2:22.08, 2. Lainy Duncan LAN 2:26.92
50-Yard Freestyle: 1. Brynlee Busskohl 24.83, 5. Leah Brown LAN 26.70, 9. Anja Harms LAN 27.18, 10. Lillyan Hamilton 27.45
1-Meter Diving: 1. Isabella Romasko SUB 359.95, 6. Li Platz LAN 271.90, 8. Skyler Woodruff LAN 242.80, 9. Grace Flint LAN 238.60
100-Yard Butterfly: 1. Sierra Hattan SUB 1:03.31, 9. Lily Gose LAN 1:09.46, 12. Li Platz LAN 1:12.14
100-Yard Freestyle: 1. Josie Dike RIV 56.72, 6. Lainy Duncan LAN 59.55, 7. Anja Harms LAN 1:00.36, 8. Lillyan Hamilton LAN 1:00.54
500-Yard Freestyle: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 5:41.73, 7. Katelyn Brinda LAN 6:19.51, 10. Annabelle Nachazel LAN 6:35.02
200-Yard Free Relay: 1. Lyman 1:44.80 (H. Harper, Bro. Busskohl, S. Weston, Bry. Busskohl) 4. Lander 1:48.87 (L. Brown, L. Hamilton, L. Gose, A. Harms)
100-Yard Backstroke: 1. Olivia Fowler LAN 1:02.32, 6. K. McPherson LAN 1:09.95, 7. Leah Brown LAN 1:09.91, 8. Asha Reid LAN 1:11.43
100-Yard Breaststroke: 1. Brynlee Busskohl LYM 1:06.34, 5. McKella Stigers LAN 1:18.56, 6. Jenny Bautz LAN 1:21.87
400-Yard Free Relay: 1. Lander 3:53.39 (L. Gose, L. Brown, O. Fowler, A. Koch)