RAWLINS — The Red Devils swimming and diving team began its season a week later than the other winter sports teams, as far as competition is concerned. Evanston traveled to Rawlins for the pentathlon described as an invitational. As the Herald’s preview story relayed, all swimmers in the pentathlon swim all four strokes — freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly — in 100-yard races; a 50-yard freestyle is also included.
Rock Springs won the Rawlins Pentathlon running away, scoring 213 points. Once the scores for swimming and diving were combined, there was a tie for a distant second place between the host Outlaws and Worland, with 103 points each, with Evanston placing fourth with 81 points. Lyman ended with 50, followed by Green River with 39, Kemmerer with 37, and Sublette County ended with 24 points scored.
Diving coach Casey Boyle told the Herald the coaching staff was pleased with the performance, especially with some of the freshmen, many whom have not taken part in a meet like Rawlins. Swim coach Joe DeLong later added an assessment in accord with Boyle’s, noting that some of the athletes performed better than expected, the meet was eye-opening for others, and some did not perform as well as anticipated.
“Some of our younger kids and even a few more seasoned [ones], hit the proverbial wall after the third or fourth race,” DeLong told the Herald, “but they’re right there. As the conditioning improves, so will their times.”
Garrett Walton was the top performer for the Red Devils, placing eighth among the 80 swimmers. Walton qualified for state in all events but the 100 breaststroke in his first time out, but did post a career-best time in that stroke, which is not one of his strengths. The junior was the only Red Devil who achieved state qualification, but there were bright spots, even the unexpected, according to Boyle.
“Freshman Colton Johnson placed 18th overall, which was really a pleasant surprise for us,” he said.
Sophomore Sam Symes placed 21st, and senior Lucas Sehorn wasn’t far behind in the 23rd spot. Sophomore Gabe Halliday was 28th; freshman Buckley Martin finished 38th; sophomore Carson Constantine was 40th; sophomore Joe Hopkin placed 41st; freshman Hans Jetkoski-DeFries was 42nd; junior Blake Martin ended 43rd; freshman Elias Tesoro was 50th, followed by Brandon Williams in the 52nd spot; freshman Darian Huff was 54th; junior Troy Rosser 55th; sophomore Bryan Carroll 60th; and freshman Jaxon Heyrend was 66th.
In diving, Toni Heyrend, who qualified for state as a freshman, made short work of qualifying this year, doing so in the first meet, with the championship diving format in use, meaning divers are scored through 11 dives. Heyrend scored 299.4 points, surpassing the state-qualifying standard of 285 points.
A couple of divers made the trip, but did not compete, due to not having enough practices under their belt.
A busy week awaits the Red Devils, as they’ll dual the Eagles in Lyman this afternoon at 5 p.m., then travel to Riverton on Friday to face Riverton, Gillette and Laramie, in a quadrangular meet Friday evening. Then, on Saturday, a long day awaits in the Riverton Invitational.
Divers begin warm-ups at 6 a.m., and Boyle joked, “if things run on time, we might get back to town in time for Monday’s practice,” later explaining the Invitational should end at 5 p.m., but that’s still 11 hours.
DeLong was excited at the challenge the competition will bring to his squad, noting much of the 4A will be present, including the schools from Friday’s quad meet and adding the Cheyenne schools, and possibly those from Casper.
“It’s a preview of the 4A teams, and our kids will know what they’re up against; it’s a good representation of who we will have to compete against in the South 4A Conference and the state swim meet,” DeLong explained.