Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Another strong season in the books for Warrior swimming


March 7, 2018


Josiah Sanchez

WORLAND - The Worland Warrior swimming season ended on Feb. 16 with the 3A State meet in Laramie. While the Warriors had a total of eight athletes competing this season, they were a strong eight.

Led by their two seniors, Dalton Jeffries and Josiah Sanchez, the Warriors checked off plenty of individual achievements. For starters, sophomore Zayne Cooper earned his first individual state championship in the 100-yard freestyle and earned All-State honors in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. He was also the conference champion in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke and swam the fourth fastest 100-yard freestyle (48.03) and the second fastest 200-yard freestyle (1:49.86) in Worland High School history.

Jeffries swam to conference championships in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles. He was also named the 3A East athlete of the year and, along with Cooper, selected 3A East conference swimmer of the year.

Sanchez earned All-Conference honors, taking second in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly. He was also a part of the 200-yard medley relay, along with Cooper, Jeffries and Zach Cole, that finished first at conference.

As a team the Warriors finished third at conference with 213.5 points, only trailing second-place Buffalo by 12.5 points. At state the team finished seventh, which is quite remarkable being that they only had seven swimmers competing, freshman Zach Cole had to be scratched from his events due to pneumonia.

"After the meet, the boys looked to be disappointed, I feel bad about that because they shouldn't. They were outstanding. We didn't have many kids and lost one to pneumonia, but they performed really well at the state level with the best of the best," said WHS boys swimming coach Jeff Bishop.

He added, "The seniors did very well. It would have been nice to get Dalton in the 50-yard finals but the competition was like 'oh my gosh!' and even his best time this season wouldn't have gotten him into the finals. But everyone went out did their best and we can't complain at all."

At state, freshman diver Diamond Hill, Worland's only diver, finished ninth out of nine divers but did set a personal record with a score of 232.15.

"Looking at Diamond's performance, he was due for his best performance and that's what we got. Every dive scored and scored well. Next year we'll work on getting that degree of difficulty up and that's something we noticed about kids above his level or at his level, their degree of difficulty was a little higher but when you multiply those scores it adds up quick.

"For what he showed us, that was the best I saw all season and can't complain about it at all. He was worried about ninth place but when you look at how few kids went out for diving, he was among the few to brave it. We have big plans for next year and we're putting together so offseason work for him like going to diving camps and stuff like that," Bishop said.

With his first season at the helm of Warrior swimming and diving in the books, Bishop enjoyed every moment with his swimmers and diver. There were plenty of memorable moments happening during meets, practice or on bus rides. But for Bishop, the dedication and hard work his athletes put in this year impressed him most.

"I'm amazed by these guys. If I felt stress at all this season, it was man these guys deserve more than what we can give them. We can't seriously take on Lander or Powell with their tons and tons of kids. But we have guys that deserved more with their ability in the water and their sportsmanship.

"We had good quality kids and the season was great. I hope that Dalton and Josiah felt like they got a season's worth. They cut time, did well at conference and placed at state," said Bishop.

A moment from the state tournament that Bishop will always remember was during some down time at the pool, while at state, Bishop talked Hill into giving synchronized diving a try. Hill asked Cody's Porter Laing if he wanted to give it a go and the two attempted synchronized diving.

"We're at state and they have boards that are right next to each other. I asked Diamond if he ever did synchronized diving before and he told me no. So he grabs the Cody kid and they start pulling of synchronized dives. I wish I would have filmed it because the one and a half was perfect. Just goofing around we were getting some of the best work," said Bishop.

Jeffries and Sanchez end their Warrior careers with plenty of accolades but it is their leadership that will be missed the most.

"We lose a couple of good seniors and it's going to be hard to replace their leadership. You can replace talent but the leadership they brought is tougher to replace," said WHS boys assistant swimming coach Justin Howe.

Cooper along with Cole, Hill, Gabe Durrant, Blake Mautz and Andrew Nelson will be returning for the Warriors in the 2018-19 season. Offseason workouts will be the focus for the returners as well as trying to recruit some to bolster their numbers.

This season was among the fastest seen by Bishop and Howe, next season will be even faster as a majority of those fast times put up were done by sophomores.

"There's going to be a lot of offseason work and a lot of recruiting. We don't have a lot of Thermopolis kids and that's a school we can be drawing from. There's also Basin and Greybull as well. It's a lot of dedication for those kids and we'll try to figure something out to help them get in the pool for us," said Bishop.

Added Howe, "The swimming was just fast this year and it's going to be even faster next year. The Wyoming sophomore class is incredibly fast and I'm glad we got someone that can keep pace. Also, I believe [Cooper's] the first state swimming champion from Ten Sleep."


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