Boys’ swim team goes the distance at State

Nadine Boespflug photo Eight athletes represented Sublette County at the 2023 Boys’ State Swimming and Diving Championships in Gillette on Feb. 16-17. Pictured, from left, are John Ruby, Kaden Day, Sage Mahaffey, Andy DeClue, Dillon Boespflug, Owen Nielson, Ryen Hacklin and Calleb Willson. Also pictured, in front, are team managers Aurora Rees, left, and Clairee Bingham, right.

GILLETTE – Boldly stepping up to the starting blocks at the 3A Boys’ State Swimming and Diving Championships, Sublette County’s small combined team earned 11th place overall with 33 points at the season-culminating event in Gillette on Feb. 16-17.

Multiple athletes from Sublette County broke into the finals on Friday, Feb. 17, after going head-to-head against a crowded pool of the best swimmers from across the state in the preliminaries on Thursday.

Senior Owen Nielson snagged seventh place in the finals for the long-distance 500-freestyle. He posted a time of 5 minutes, 14.71 seconds, shaving 2.5 seconds off his preliminary time.

Nielson also earned eighth place in the 200-freestyle finals, clocking in at 1:52.47, improving his time from the preliminaries by more than 2 seconds.

Junior Andy DeClue took 12th place in the finals for the 100-freestyle on Friday, hitting the finish line in under 1 minute at 53.40 seconds. DeClue chipped 0.15 seconds off his preliminary time.

Each of the three Sublette County relay teams broke into the finals at State this year. DeClue, junior John Ruby, Nielson and senior Dillon Boespflug bagged eighth place in the 400-freestyle relay finals, hitting the finish line at 3:34.42.

In the 200-freestyle relay finals, junior Ryen Hacklin, Ruby, DeClue and Nielson captured ninth place, timing in at 1:39.11. Day, sophomore Calleb Willson, Boespflug and senior Sage Mahaffey swam into 12th place in the 200-medley relay finals with a time of 2:02.87.

“We had a great time at State swimming,” said Co-Head Coach Kursty Day. “Owen Nielson, John Ruby, Kaden Day and Andy DeClue swam personal best times at State. It was exciting to see all of their hard work pay off. We will truly miss our seniors. As our season comes to an end, we encourage our athletes to continue to be active in track or soccer. I would like to say thank you to all the parents and swim fans for all their support this season. It means a lot to the athletes and coaches.”

Additional preliminary results

DeClue placed 16th in the 200-freestyle preliminaries at 2:00.59. Ruby took 22nd in the event at 2:03.22.

Boespflug came in 14th place in the 100-butterfly at 1:00.61. He took 16th place in the 100-breaststroke at 1:07.21.

Hacklin secured 35th place in the 50-freestyle with a time of 26.21 seconds.

In the 100-freestyle preliminaries, Ruby finished in 23rd place at 55.67 seconds with Hacklin in 31st place at 57.57 seconds.