Swimmers make most of Last Chance Meet

Robert Galbreath photo

PINEDALE – The 2021 State Boys’ Swimming and Diving Championships are in Laramie on Feb. 19 and 20.

The Sublette County team hit the water for one more chance to qualify at the Last Chance Meet hosted by the Pinedale Aquatic Center on Feb. 11.

Big Piney sophomore Owen Nielson capped off a successful day and punched his ticket to State on Thursday in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Nielson won the 200-yard freestyle, clocking in at 2 minutes, 11.73 seconds. He took second in the 500 freestyle, finishing the grueling distance event at 6:08.83.

Pinedale freshman Andy DeClue qualified in his fifth event, the 100 butterfly, at the Last Chance Meet, timing in at 1:10.67. In addition to the butterfly, DeClue had met the qualifying time in the 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle earlier in the season.

Nielson’s qualifying swims brought the total number of athletes that will travel to the State Championships this year to 12. Big Piney junior J.T. Day and Pinedale sophomore Dillon Boespflug, along with Jackson Fouras and Hunter Scott of Jackson, won the Adam Denton Award for qualifying in all eight individual events. Day also qualified in diving.

Big Piney freshman Ryen Hacklin can choose from three events at the meet – the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Pinedale senior John Covill made it to State in the 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Pinedale sophomore Cade Covill also qualified in three events: the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Big Piney senior Conner King qualified in the 100 backstroke, Big Piney sophomore Hampton Jones in diving and Pinedale sophomore Max Shaw in the 50 freestyle.

“This was an exciting meet for Owen Nielson, who was able to get his first qualifying swims of the season,” said coach Ron Ruckman. “Several of the 12 boys swimming at State this year have a very good chance of placing in one or both of their events and we are excited to see what they can do.”

“As we get ready for State, we will miss the athletes that didn’t make it,” coach Kursty Day said. “Everyone showed maximum efforts on Thursday. We are excited to add Owen Nielson to our State team. Freshman John Ruby ended the season with a huge time drop of 24 seconds in the 500 free. Swimming is not an easy sport, and every year, times get faster. These athletes work very hard all season and we are proud of them.”

Additional Big Piney results – Last Chance Meet

  • 50-yard freestyle: Brayden Hymas in sixth at 26.03 seconds, Hacklin in ninth at 26.82 seconds, King in 12th at 29.64 seconds and Ruby in 13th at 29.88 seconds.
  • 200-yard freestyle: Day in second at 2:14.72.
  • 1-meter diving: Day in first with 117.80 points and Jones in second at 111.80.
  • 100-yard freestyle: Hymas in third at 59.18 seconds, Hacklin in fourth at 59.71 seconds and King in seventh at 1:06.18.
  • 500-yard freestyle: Ruby in third at 7:13.60.
  • 100-yard breaststroke: Jones in seventh at 1:32.76.

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