Swimmers host successful conference meet

Robert Galbreath photos

PINEDALE – Pinedale senior Sierra Hattan won the 100 butterfly in the preliminary round of the 3A West Conference Meet, beating Ashlon Koch of Lander by more than four-tenths of a second.

Hattan improved her time by nearly a half-second in the finals on Saturday. Koch also improved her time, edging past Hattan by eight-hundredths of a second to win the event.

Hattan, still catching her breath, turned to Koch, embraced her opponent in the neighboring lane. Both athletes congratulated each other on earning All-Conference honors.

As swimmers shook out their nerves before stepping onto the starting block, junior Morgan Grossman took time to wish her opponents on both sides “good luck.”

On the podium following the diving finals, juniors Rhonda Auradou and Lilly Joseph wrapped their arms around their opponents to pose for a group photograph, smiling together as if they were all on the same team.

Sportsmanship and goodwill echoed through the Pinedale Aquatic Center, along with loud cheers, during the two-day event on Oct. 22-23. The athletes showed up to compete and hoped to snag the top spot on the podium, but the atmosphere of friendliness and support eclipsed individual and team rivalries.

Nine athletes on the Sublette County combined swim team made the top six and the podium on Saturday, and the team finished fifth overall with 155 points.

The coaches were pleased with the results and the additional state-qualifying swims.

“We are very proud of how our swimmers swam as a whole this weekend,” said coach Kursty Day. “Most everyone dropped significant time in at least one event. Mia Buchanan and Rayne Wheeler qualified in the 50 freestyle, swimming their fastest time this season. Morgan had a great Conference, taking time off in both her events and qualifying in the 100 free. The ladies will have one more chance to qualify (for State) on Thursday in Pinedale – we have several swimmers that are very close.”

“Conference was a meet of great improvement for many of our swimmers and divers,” said coach Ambr Seemann. “Lilly Joseph qualified in the 11-dive category. All of our juniors and seniors made it to the finals, most in both individual and relay events. We are proud of all our athletes and thankful for the privilege of coaching ladies of great character.”

Assistant diving coach Sharon Bien also had words of praise for the athletes.

“The Sublette divers stepped up and did an amazing job this weekend,” she said.

Friday featured preliminary rounds with the top 12 athletes in individual events and top six relay teams advancing to the finals on Saturday.

Saturday results – finals

Hattan clocked in her All-Conference, second-place finish in the butterfly at 1 minute, 3.97 seconds. The senior also picked up sixth place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:16.95.

Grossman scooped up third place in the 200-yard freestyle finals, timing in at 2:13.21. Grossman took fourth place in the finals for the 500-yard freestyle at 6:07.71.

Junior Rayne Wheeler came in fifth place in the 200 individual medley at 2:37.40. Wheeler also snapped up sixth place in the 100 freestyle, timing in at 1:02.62.

In diving, Auradou came in third place after 11 dives, tallying 281 points. Joseph placed fifth with 273.95 points. Both Auradou and Joseph both moved up in the rankings between the preliminary eight dives on Friday and the final three on Saturday.

Senior Rachael Essington placed 10th following eight dives on Friday with 166 points.

Buchanan finished seventh in the 50-yard freestyle at 27.87 seconds and 12th in the 100 freestyle at 1:03.75.

Junior Ceili Fallon came in 12th place in both the 100 breaststroke at 1:26.41 and the 200 individual medley at 2:49.92.

Freshman Alexis Thompson placed 12th in the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 7:17.64.

Senior Jacie Friel, Fallon, Hattan and Grossman took fifth place in the 200-yard medley relay. The team finished the race in 2:07.16.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Fallon, Wheeler, Hattan and Buchanan placed fifth at 1:52.47, improving their time from the preliminaries by more than half a second.

Grossman, Thompson, Wheeler and Auradou finished sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay at 4:31.28.

Additional preliminary results – Friday

  • 200-yard medley relay: Maggie Walker, Jolynn Jones, KaLee Bohnet and Emma York in ninth place at 2:33.86.
  • 200 freestyle: Addysen Levitt in 18th place at 2:37.63, Thompson in 19th at 2:37.68 and Friel in 26th at 2:54.32.
  • 200 individual medley: Addison Statham in 19th place at 3:15.06 and Bohnet in 20th at 3:25.25.
  • 50 freestlye: Walker in 13th place at 30.14 seconds, York in 16th at 32.67, Jones in 19th at 33.23, Ayame Conway in 26th at 37.29 and Cambry Jenks in 27th at 39.39.
  • 100 butterfly: Bohnet in 15th place at 1:29.98 and Conway in 17th at 1:50.11.
  • 100 freestyle: Levitt in 16th place at 1:10.67 and Jenks in 24th at 1:28.35.
  • 500 freestyle: York in 15th place at 7:35.58 and Jones in 18th at 7:48.71.
  • 100 backstroke: Essington in 18th place at 1:24.63 and Statham in 21st at 1:27.35.
  • 100 breaststroke: Walker in 16th place at 1:31.49.
  • 400 freestyle relay: Levitt, Jones, York and Friel in 11th place at 5:08.87 and Statham, Bohnet, Conway and Essington in 12th at 5:45.05.
Robert Galbreath photos