Tigers roar off the blocks as boy’s swim season begins

    Submitted by Chase McFadden 

    For 22 consecutive years, teams have watched the Lander Valley High School boys climb to the top of the podium to be crowned king of the 3A swim ranks once again.

    From a pool-half-full point of view, a new season offers those teams an opportunity to step forward and unseat the champions from the throne.


    From a pool-half-empty perspective, LVHS is unleashing a twenty-strong legion of swimmers and divers on the rest of the state that has the potential to be as dominant as any Lander line-up of the past.

    Taking the title from these Tigers will be no small task.

    “This is the most experienced team I have ever coached and possibly one of the most experienced teams in Lander history,” says third-year head coach Shawna Morgan of this year’s squad. “So many of our kids are part of the swimming and/or diving clubs, and it shows in their technique and performances.”

    That experience has propelled the Tigers to team wins in three of four meets — including the Lander Home Opener — to begin the season. Perhaps most impressive, though, was a second-place finish.


    At the Green River Invite, LVHS finished runner-up to Laramie in a ten-team field consisting primarily of 4A teams, serving notice that the Tiger tradition of excellence is alive and well.

    “We had an awesome showing, placing second amongst all those 4A schools,” Morgan said of the December 15 meet. “We broke the Green River High School Aquatics Center pool record in the 400 freestyle relay by five seconds and are 1.5 seconds from the 3A state record in that event.

    “We are pretty excited about swimming those fast of times this early in the season,” said Morgan. “We currently have nine boys qualified for the state event and have three others that are within seconds of qualifying for the big meet. We always have the goal that everyone on the team qualifies for state, and we are working towards that goal.”


    Particularly encouraging for both the present and future of Lander swimming is an infusion of newbies to the program. “We have a big freshman class this year,” Morgan said, “which is super exciting so we can see how these kids progress over their high school careers. Some of our younger swimmers are getting better every day.”

    Impressive early season swims are due in part to a preseason where Morgan and assistant coaches Tim Hester and Faith Hamilton were able to aggressively push their athletes.

    “Because so many of the boys are swim club members, we were able to get into our interval training a lot sooner this year. They came into the season in shape,” explained Morgan. “Many of them are swimming personal best times and keep getting faster and faster each meet. It has been really fun to watch.”


    Though the individual makeup of each season’s squad is unique, Morgan said that the coaches’ goals for the student-athletes in the program are consistent.

    “Our expectations are usually the same for every team we encounter. We want every athlete to be able to swim the 200 IM correctly, want them to reach their individual and team goals, all while being respectful young adults. Not only do we teach swimming and diving skills, but we stress sportsmanship, respect, and integrity.”

    The Tigers’ will compete next at the Laramie Invite December 28-29.

    Lander Home Opener

    Dec. 14, 2018


    TEAM SCORES: 1. Lander 336, 2. Sublette County 301, 3. Worland 236, 4. Cody 196


    200 Yard Medley Relay: 1. Lander (Nolan McFadden, Ross Anderson, Jonny Kulow, Sonny Robinson) 2:00.56, 6. Lander (Benaiah Dolence, Dominic Tejada, Ramsey Eckhardt, Luke Morneau) 2:28.75


    200 Yard Freestyle: 1. Jonny Kulow 1:50.64, 2. Nolan McFadden 1:58.17, 4. T Whiting 2:06.25, 5. Preston Plaisted 2:09.59, 12. Warren Losch 2:40.26, 14. Ramsey Eckhardt 2:51.79, 15. Sonny Robinson 2:53.49


    200 Yard IM: 1. Caleb Huelskamp 2:09.27, 2. Ryan Brinda 2:14.30, 6. Colton Wietzki 2:35.07, 8. Ross Anderson 2:41.88

    50 Yard Freestyle: 1. Nick Kulow 22.77, 2. Jonny Kulow 23.02, 4. Benaiah Dolence 26.15


    Boys 1 mtr Diving: 1. Preston Plaisted 186.05, 5. Dominic Tejada 117.85, 7. Luke Morneau 73.85


    100 Yard Butterfly: 3. Colton Wietzki 1:14.55, 6. Mason Kinney 1:31.39, 7. Ramsey Eckhardt 1:39.73


    100 Yard Freestyle: 1. Ryan Brinda 51.28, 2. Nolan McFadden 52.82, 3 Benaiah Dolence 58.19, 8. Warren Losch 1:10.03


    200 Yard Freestyle Relay: 1. Lander (Ryan Brinda, Nolan McFadden, Nick Kulow, Caleb Huelskamp) 1:34.02, 4. Lander (Preston Plaisted, T Whiting, Colton Wietzki, Benaiah Dolence) 1:47.15, 8. Lander (Mason Kinney, Warren Losch, Sonny Robinson, Ramsey Eckhardt) 2:15.03


    100 Yard Backstroke: 1. Caleb Huelskamp 1:01.42, 2. T Whiting, 1:09.07, 12. Sonny Robinson 1:39.96, 13. Dominic Tejada 1:40.38


    100 Yard Breaststroke: 1. Nick Kulow 1:08.14, 5. Ross Anderson 1:19.78, 6. Mason Kinney 1:21.10


    400 Yard Freestyle Relay: 1. Lander (Jonny Kulow, Ryan Brinda, Nick Kulow, Caleb Huelskamp) 3:20.02, 4. Lander (T Whiting, Ross Anderson, Colton Wietzki, Preston Plaisted) 4:07.50


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