A POOL OF PLACERS

Girls swim and dive team brings home 3rd Place title at state
Girls proudly hold up their state duckies.
Girls proudly hold up their state duckies.
Jael Fisher

The PHS Girls Swim and Dive team was set to compete in Gillette on Nov. 3 and 4 for their state meet. The Lady Panthers’ success resulted in a 3rd place title for the fourth consecutive year in a row.

The team was elevated with confidence after winning their third straight conference victory just two weeks prior. 

“Winning conference definitely gave us the boost that we needed,” junior swimmer Kate Miller said. “A lot of people made the cuts that they needed to get in order to be seeded higher at state.”

An individual swimmer or diver puts countless hours into their respective event for a higher seed as the season progresses. The more they climb up the rankings, the better the team is projected to do at the final stage.

At the Absaraka Conference meet, the girls saw astonishing results after having innumerous amounts of placers, which of course helped bring home the conference title. In the historical victory, the team experienced a prolific increase in motivation and that provided a huge assist as the team prepared for state.

“Going into state we definitely felt good,” Miller said. “We had put in so much blood, sweat, and tears through all the practices that we weren’t worried at all.”

Going into state we definitely felt good. We had put in so much blood, sweat, and tears through all the practices that we weren’t worried at all.

— junior Kate Miller

The Panthers would finish with a total score of 185 at the state meet which would be enough to get them on the podium. Only finishing behind Green River and Lander, Powell acquired the bronze. 

Two swimmers earned a deuce pair in top 5 finishes after sophomore Kaitlin Diver placed fourth in the 200 and 500 free and senior Kik Hayano clinched a fifth-place honor in the 200 IM and took fourth in the 100 fly. 

Both Hayano and Diver would escalate themselves higher on the Panther Wall of Fame with Hayano moving up to third all-time in the 100 fly and Diver going to fourth all-time in the 500 free.

“I think my performance at state was pretty good,” Diver said. “I placed top six in all of my events.”

On top of her individual display, Diver would also contribute to a fourth-place 400 free relay team alongside Hayano, Addy Powell and Patricia Christensen.

The workouts the team took on reinforced their abilities to impersonate the undefeated swim squad that they were.

“Nothing can really take off the nerves of having to perform on the big stage,” Powell said. “Knowing that we were prepared helped exponentially.”  

Nothing can really take off the nerves of having to perform on the big stage. Knowing that we were prepared helped exponentially.

— Addy Powell

Leading the way for the divers was senior Aramonie Brinkerhoff with a sheer dive score of 317.25 awarding enough for a sixth-place finish. Fellow senior Emma Brence and sophomore Tori Black would also dive their way to the top 15.

Upperclassmen can have a very positive effect on athletics. Powell mentions how grateful she was to the seniors for being great examples in swimming. 

“The seniors are some of my role models,” Powell said. “They have been diligent in training as well as having a great impact on the relays and point scoring.”

The Girls Swim and Dive Team will say goodbye to 10 seniors who accounted for most of their points scored at state. They will look for their potent underclassmen to take the next step.

“I think that something we did really well as a team this year was compete not just for ourselves, but for each other,” Brinkerhoff said. “The adrenaline I had knowing I was standing on the [diving] board for the last time allowed me to score very well on my last dive.” 

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