One of PHS’ incredible swimmers is making his way down to Fresco California July 27-31


Photo courtesy: Steve Johnston, the Powell Tribune

Junior Nate Johnston is congratulated by his teammates at state boys’ swimming while event winners were announced.

In February, PHS junior swimmer Nate Johnston broke the record time for the 100-yard breaststroke in the 3A West boys’ swimming conference meet. Now Johnston is headed to California with the top swimmers in Wyoming for Western Zones swimming.

“Competition is faster than state events,” Johnston said. “I will be competing in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley, my best event being the 100 breaststroke.”

Western Zones is the meet for top swimmers in Northestern states, including Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. This year, Western Zones will be July 27-31 in Fresno, California.  

To prepare for Zone swimming, Johnston has been going to the gym 2-3 days a week, practicing his swimming technique and making sure he is leading the USA Swimming team. 

“It’s mostly just been going to practice every single day and being 100% committed to it,” Johnston said. “… I’m at the point right now where my coach expects me to be there every single day and when I’m not there, he starts to worry.”  

But Johnston’s achievements didn’t happen overnight; it took years of practice, dedication and some added motivation from his peers. Watching Lander Valley High junior swimmer Johnny Kulow reach new goals in swimming has inspired Johnston to strive to reach above and beyond; Johnston even beat Kulow’s record time at 3A West conference. 

“[Nate is] always the first one to jump in for warm-ups, first one to start cheering for his teammates and is always talking to fellow teammates or kids from other teams,” Kulow said. “… his strokes when he swims are always smooth and refined, there’s no wasted energy or inefficient portions of his swimming; he’s super deliberate.”

Johnston has been swimming since he was 10 years old and has earned the reputation of being a diligent and committed swimmer among his coaches and peers. In a previous interview, USA Swimming coach Jerry Rodriguez describes Johnston as, “… one of the most dedicated athletes that I have ever coached, hard working and inspiring.”

While Johnston takes this new step in his swimming career, Kulow offers him this advice:

“… keep striving for your goals and go into practice with them on your mind. Technique is everything. Placement equals power, power equals speed.”

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