Ladies hit the mid-season mark

Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


The Lady Dogies had their first back-to-back swim meets last weekend, which also happened to be their debut home competitions this season. On Friday the Kozisek Aquatic Center was home to a double dual between Newcastle, Cody and Cheyenne South, and on Saturday Buffalo, Worland and Douglas joined the others for the Newcastle Invitational.

Given this was the first time the squad has competed in a two-day format, head coach Doug Scribner was not surprised to see a difference in his swimmers’ performances from one meet to the next.

“Friday was a good day and we saw improvement in all but three of the events that the girls had swum before,” he began. “Saturday we were a little tired, but that’s typical for our first weekend like this.”

Hannah Gross maintained her status as top performer as she finished first in both of her individual events — the 200 IM and the 100 Freestyle — and did so in 4A qualifying time.

As per usual, each swimmer was required to enter an event in which they had not yet competed and one in which they wished to improve. To that end, this weekend Lady Dogies took on the 500 Freestyle for the first time this season.

On Friday, It was Emily Beastrom and Autumn Mills who took on the beast, and Scribner noted that though both had trepidations about the race, they each performed very well.

“Emily has a really good mentality when it comes to giving a new event a try. She was nervous about swimming the 500 and had told me she wasn’t going to do flip turns, and I don’t know what strategy she used, but she did flip turns the whole race and did really well!” Scribner exclaimed. “Autumn last swam the 500 in club, and she had a pretty good time drop from that on Friday. She competed well and dropped about a minute.”

The three veteran swimmers on the squad threw a twist into the final race of the day, the 400 Freestyle Relay. Technically, a freestyle relay means participants are free to swim any stroke they wish, so Gross, Becca Henkle and Madi Townsend all swam their 100-meter legs as a medley, meaning they did the backstroke, the breast stroke, the butterfly, finishing with the freestyle.

Though the ladies were fatigued as they began competition on Saturday at the invitational, Gross pushed through to pick up two more wins in the 50 and 500 Freestyle races. Having already qualified in the 50, Gross has set her sights on even loftier goals in that event.

“One of Hannah’s long-term goals is to break the 50 Free record,” Scribner explained. “We’ve been working on technique so she tried it out and was very successful finishing quite a bit faster than she did at this time last year.”

Her success showed in not only besting herself, but also a Buffalo swimmer who has been very fast in the 50 so far this season.

It was the first time Gross has competed in the 500 Free and she added one more race to her state qualifying slate as she touched the wall first in 4A qualifying time.

The lone remaining individual event in which Gross has yet to put up a qualifying time is the breaststroke, which Scribner claims is her “weakest” stroke. That is also the one race Gross has not undertaken.

Overall Scribner stated that his team is still improving and that Townsend is the next closest to qualifying. After this weekend, she is now only three seconds away from doing so in the 100 Butterfly and within two seconds in the 100 Backstroke.

“Madi is in a lot better position than she was last year in terms of qualifying because she wasn’t even close until the end of the season,” Scribner nodded. “She’s taking her races out fast enough, so now we just need to work on more endurance to finish it the way she needs to in order to cut her time.”

The team has hit the midway point of the season and Scribner feels pretty good about where they are sitting, and his biggest takeaway from the weekend is that his swimmers need to continue to build endurance.

“I look at the veterans’ times, and they are all making good improvements from where they were last year,” he declared. “The new girls’ technique is pretty solid all the way around, so now it’s a matter of working on endurance. They have really stepped up and learned a lot in a month and their work ethic and team cohesiveness and dynamic has been awesome.”

This week the Lady Dogies will have their second back-to-back weekend of competition as well as an overnight as they travel to Buffalo for a dual on Friday and continue on over the mountain for the Worland Invitational on Saturday.


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