CHEYENNE – It isn’t often a high school swimming team has multiple freshmen qualifying for the state swim meet in multiple events.
For the Cheyenne Central girls, its young core of swimmers immediately made an impact at the start of the season, and are continuing to help the Lady Indians sit as one of the top teams in the state.
Izzy DeLay, Emily Meares and Sydni Sawyer are the three Central freshmen making the most noise. The trio has qualified for the state meet in nearly all individual events, and did so early in the season.
“Some of the times they’re throwing up in all of the events are pretty impressive,” Central coach Josh Bott said. “They’re not just stuck with one or two events, they’re doing well in all of their events.
“It’s pretty nice to have Swiss Army Knife type of swimmers that you can stick where you need at different meets.”
The three have all qualified for the 100-yard freestyle, 200 free, 500 free, 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley. DeLay and Sawyer also qualified for the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke, while DeLay and Meares have in the 50 free.
They’ve also qualified for the 200-yard medley relay together, while DeLay and Meares will compete in the 200-free relay at state.
However, the young talent doesn’t strictly revolve around the freshmen, as the sophomore class consisting of Katherine Clark, Kyla Jackson and Andie Prince have also shown a lot of success this season.
That success hasn’t necessarily come as any surprise to DeLay.
“I don’t know if we thought we would be as successful as we have been before the season started,” DeLay said. “We knew we were going to be good because we’ve been swimming together for years now, but I think we’ve gotten a lot farther (in progress) than we expected.”
Central’s young swimmers are taking notes and learning from quality upperclassmen. The team is filled with depth, and the emphasis on the leadership the juniors and seniors have provided isn’t going unnoticed by Bott or the younger swimmers.
“Ultimately, I came into the season with the mindset of always attacking practice, staying positive and just having fun,” Sawyer said. “It’s really worked for all of us and the upperclassmen are really positive as well, and it’s helped a lot.”
Along with the swimmers, the diving team is also derived of a young set of athletes. Brinkley Lewis, Addisyn Dalton and Sage Whitman are all sophomores, and have also qualified for the state meet.
“We have a lot of potential because of all of the depth we have as a team,” Sawyer said. “We have a lot of young girls throughout the team, and we’re learning from each other, and it’s made all of us better.”
Depth is a big advantage for Central, as the team consists of more than 40 swimmers, something very few teams in the state can say. It’s one of the many reasons the team has had so much success this season.
A Central girls swimming and diving team hasn’t won a state championship since 2004, where they bested Campbell County by only a point. The current team has the potential to change that in the not-so-distant future.
“We have so many good girls on our team this year and probably one of the best teams Central has had,” DeLay said. “I honestly think we can win state for the first time in several years.”
Central wins seven events in Saturday’s triple-dual
DeLay and Alyssa Samuelson each won two individual events to help lead the Cheyenne Central girls to two dual wins in Saturday’s triple-dual against Natrona County and Thunder Basin.
Central topped Natrona 104-50 and Thunder Basin 98-49.
DeLay won the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:07.19 and the 100 free in 57.79. Alyssa Samuelson won the 50 free (26.69) and the 500 free (5:58.63), while Kira Brownell plied first in the 200 individual medley for the Indians (2:22.98). Jenna Horst finished second in the 500 free (6:26.04).
Taylor Gebhart took second in the 200 free (2:12.10), and teammate Sydni Sawyer earned a second-place finish in the 100 free (59.00) and a third-place finish the 50 free (27.03), finishing behind Emily Meares, who clocked in for second (26.95). Gladys Eggers placed second in the 100-yard butterfly for Central (1:11.45).
The relay team of Eggers, Andie Prince, Sawyer and Katie Clark took first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:04.29. Samuelson, DeLay, Meares and Brownell also won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:47.28.
Lewis scored 420.70 in the 1-meter diving, giving her a second-place finish.