The Panther swim team takes 10th at the 3A State Championship


Photo Courtesy of Seth Romsa

Members of the Panther boys swim team gather around senior Kobus Diver’s lane as he swims his 500 yard freestyle. Diver placed eighth in this event.

The Panther boys swim team traveled to Gillette last weekend where they faced some of the toughest competition the 3A swim and dive championship has ever seen. 

The boys ended up taking tenth place while Lander swam away with its 27th consecutive state championship title with 326 points. Lander was followed by Buffalo with 220 points and Green River with 177.5 points. 

“This is the first state we have had where some teams scored zero points,” head coach Stephanie Warren said. “We managed to score 74 points which is not bad. We had more kids in finals this year than last year, [and] we missed 9th by 0.5 points. There are just so many swimmers fighting for twelve spots.”

The team was led by six swimmers who each placed in finals or consolation finals. Senior Ru Parker led the team with a fifth place finish in the 100 yard butterfly and a sixth place finish in the 100 yard backstroke. 

Other top finals qualifiers included junior Gabe Rose, who placed ninth in both the 100 yard butterfly and the 200 yard individual medley, and senior Jon Hawley placing sixth in diving. 

Consolation finalists for swimming were senior Kobus Diver, placed eighth in the 500 yard freestyle, and senior Aidan Cannizzaro taking twelfth in the 100 yard backstroke. 

On the diving end, junior Jon Hawley placed sixth in diving and senior Ashtin Prentiss took eleventh in diving barely missing tenth place by 0.2 points.

“The divers did great,” Warren said. “All four of our divers qualified. [Senior] Justin Hobbs made it to state which was exciting in itself. Sophomore Taggart Shumway was cut after the semi finals and was the 13th alternate. They all did very well, and I am very proud of all of them.”

“Just barely skimming by with a sixth place finish, I earned my first medal from any sport ever,” Hawley said. “The competition was very tough. All of the Lander and Green River divers are a force to be reckoned with and proved to be a great challenge for me to overcome.”

The competition was very tough. All of the Lander and Green River divers are a force to be reckoned with and proved to be a great challenge for me to overcome.

— Jon Hawley

The Panther relays fell to consolation finals due to the tough competition. The Panther relay team consisting of sophomore Cole Fauskee, senior Nathan Dupont, junior Adam Williams and Ru Parker placed seventh in the 200 freestyle relay. The 200 medley relay team of Ru Parker, Kobus Diver, Gabe Rose and Adam Williams took eighth and the team of Cole Fauskee, Gabe Rose, freshman Hugh Carpenter and Kobus Diver took tenth in the 400 freestyle relay.

“I wish that our relays made it into the top six rather than the bottom six,” Hawley said. “But, all of our relays made it [to finals] anyways, so I can’t complain. If our team had more boys in general, we would do better, but it’s not about winning. It’s about doing our best, and that’s exactly what we did.

After the meet, seniors who have been swimming together for many years had to say goodbye to their sport and the friends they have made along the way. 

“I’m going to miss swimming for this team and especially swimming with Ru Parker,” Diver said. “He’s been there to motivate me pretty much since I started swimming with him all those years ago.”

The results from the meet can be found here.