A shot at winning a state title in their home pool is a motivating factor for the Laramie Plainsmen, who open a new boys high school swimming and diving season.

Laramie hasn’t won state title since the end of a 3-peat in 2011. After a runner-up finish in 2017, the Plainsmen would love to get back to the top of the podium. It certainly won’t be easy, but veteran head coach Tom Hudson, in his 28th year, feels his squad will be in the mix.

LHS returns 12 state qualifiers and four All-State swimmers from last season’s team. Leading the charge are seniors Logan Pickard and Jesse France, plus junior Noah Richardson and sophomore Max DeYoung.

Hudson says a big key is developing more depth.

“We do have a majority of our guys coming back from last year, so we’re excited about that.”

Hudson believes they’ll need to diversify their line-up to fill holes in the breaststroke and distance freestyle events.

The Plainsmen are the defending state champions in the 400 free relay, with three members back, and Hudson says they’ll be strong in both freestyle relays.

There are 30 boys out for swimming and diving this season with eight seniors leading the team. Two of them, Franc and Pickard joined KOWB’s David Settle for a chat about the upcoming season.

Hudson has Thunder Basin High School in Gillette as the team to beat with Laramie contending, along with Kelly Walsh and Green River.

There is one new piece to the boy’s swimming and diving season. It’s one week shorter than it’s been with adjustments for Title IX.

Another big change is the fact that Laramie will host the 2018 State Championships Feb. 15-17 at the LHS Aquatics Center.

Hudson says that’s sensational news.

“There’s going to be 25 teams from all over the state here for almost four days, filling the hotels/motels, all that kind of stuff. That’s the aquatics director in me talking. As a coach, I’m thrilled to have it here, for our kids to finally get to swim in front of their home fans at a state meet and show ‘em what it’s all about. To host this meet in this great facility, we couldn’t be more blessed.”

The 2017-18 campaign begins with a trip to Gillette for the Gillette Relays and Gillette Pentathlon on Friday and Saturday. Their first home competition will Dec. 29 and 30. They’ll have more home meets later in January. The conference meet is at Cheyenne South before coming home for the state championships.