Swimmers and Divers take third at 3A State

Young and Cordova are State Champions

The 3A State Championships took place last week on Thursday and Friday in Gillette. There was intensity filling the air during the prelims as the swimmers and divers prepared to jump in the water. All of the athletes were hoping that they would make the cut and be able to swim in the top twelve the following day.

On Friday, 13 teams showed up at the Aquatic Center with the top 12 athletes in each event ready to fight for the gold. As each event started, loud music played as the swimmers came out in their parkas and lined up in their lanes. You could hear the cheering of the fans as they stepped up on the blocks.

Green River's A relay team entered the first race of the championships, the 200 Yard Medley Relay, adding 0.84 seconds to their time and placing sixth. Swimmers in the team include Aiden Zimmerman, Zeke Reading, Ryan Fischer and Logan Wadsworth. Lander's A relay team was speeding through the water and took first-place, 3.25 seconds ahead of Buffalo's A Relay team.

In the 200 Yard Freestyle, Lander's Dylan Huelskamp was the state champion with a time of 1:43.63, Lander's Brayden Brown took second place and Brady Young took third place, along with Sophomore Aiden Zimmerman placing 11th.

In the 200 Yard IM event, Ryan Fischer took sixth place with a time of 2:04.73, dropping another 2.42 seconds off his personal best. The state champion was Lander's Finn Richards, who won the event with a time of 1:56.54.

Green River didn't have anyone that placed in the top 12 for the 50 Yard Freestyle event. The state champion was Buffalo's Brogan Byram with a time of 21.35, just 0.40 seconds ahead of Lander's Benny Kulow.

No one in the competition could match Braxton Cordova's diving skills. Cordova won the One-Meter Diving event for the third year in a row with 437.85 points and is the 3A State Champion, earning All-State honors. Keegan Gailey took fifth place and River Kirts took seventh place. It was an unfortunate weekend for Kyle Kight who was unable to compete because of an injury.

Taking home the gold for the 100 Yard Butterfly was Lander's Dylan Huelskamp with a time of 51.52. Green River's Zeke Reading snagged points for his team, dropping 1.01 seconds and coming in fourth place.

In the 100 Yard Freestyle, Lander's Benny Kulow walked away as the champion with a time of 46.97 seconds. Green River's Ryan Fischer dropped 0.82 seconds and took an amazing third place.

Brady Young was the 3A State Champion in the 500 Yard Freestyle event, finishing the race with a time of 4:45.80 and earning All-State honors. Young had set the new state record the day before and dropped another 0.02 seconds, setting a new state record again. The previous state record of 4:47.50 had been held since 2001 by Lander's Eric Moxley. Sophomore Colin Gilmore got an impressive fourth-place finish.

In the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, Green River's A relay team took fourth place with Buffalo's A relay team winning the event with a time of 1:28.50. Green River's relay team included Aiden Zimmerman, Brady Young, Zeke Reading and Colin Gilmore.

Green River unfortunately lost some points due to the fact that they didn't have a swimmer that placed in the 100 Yard Backstroke. Cody's Joseph Killpack, coming in at 52.84 seconds, won first place in the race, just 1.66 seconds ahead of Lander's Finn Richards.

In the 100 Yard Breaststroke, Zeke Reading put up a fight, dropping 1.18 seconds and placing fifth. Buffalo's Tommy Wonka came in first place, 2.3 seconds ahead of Lander's Reed McFadden.

In the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay, Green River's A relay team took fourth place. Swimmers in that team included Aiden Zimmerman, Brady Young, Colin Gilmore and Ryan Fischer. Lander took first, followed by Buffalo in second and Riverton in third.

With the final scores coming in, Green River came in third place.

Brady Young and Dylan Huelskamp were named Athlete of the Year along with Rick Barker being named Assistant Coach of the Year.

Head Coach Colleen Seiloff was extremely pleased with the swimmers' and divers' performances. There were tears in her eyes as she talked about the senior swimmers she will be losing this year.

"My seniors, Zeke Reading, Ryan Fischer and Brady Young, have done a fantastic job of being here and working hard, staying focused and doing everything they needed to do throughout the season," said Coach Seiloff. "It showed at state and it was so fun to watch."

Seiloff is proud of the entire team and mentioned that even the athletes that didn't make it into the top 12 had amazing time cuts and "across the board they all stepped up and did a great job." She was impressed with all of the younger swimmers, including Aiden Zimmerman and Colin Gilmore who placed in the top 12.

Coach Seiloff also wanted to say how proud she is of the divers this year. She talked about Keegan Gailey and how fun it was watching his improvements this year. Keegan made it to the top 12 as a sophomore and he is going to be in a great position next year. River Kirts has finished strong his whole diving career, and Braxton Cordova stayed level headed and had amazing dives.

Ending the season Seiloff added, "They worked hard all season and they all deserve the accolades they got. We talk about going out and celebrating all of their hard work at state. And they did!"

Team Scores:

Lander: 326

Buffalo: 220

Green River: 177.5

Riverton: 112

Cody: 100

Worland: 88

Kemmerer: 80

Evanston: 76

Lyman: 74.5

Powell: 74

Sublette: 33

Rawlins: 27

Newcastle: 7


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