Five in a row! That’s the goal of the Laramie Lady Plainsmen swimming and diving team at this weekend’s 4A state championships.

LHS has won the last four girls’ swimming and diving 4A state titles. The last few have been in dominating fashion. A year ago, Laramie won the crown by nearly 120 points. They are the favorite entering this weekend’s state meet.

The competition starts on Friday with the diving prelims and semifinals at 3:30 p.m. The swim prelims will follow around 5:30-6 p.m. All the finals will be on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at the Campbell County Aquatics Center in Gillette.

Laramie head coach Tom Hudson is very excited about his team going into the state meet.

“We ended up with 25 state qualifiers, (which beat) a preseason goal of 21, so we really came on pretty strong in the last few weeks. For the most part, we’re healthy, and we’re going to give it all we got to get five in a row.”

Seniors Libby Moore (swimmer) and Mallorie Hamel (diver) have never lost in their high school career. KOWB’s David Settle caught up with the two to preview the state meet, what it will take to win a fifth straight, handling the pressure, and more in the video at the top of this story.

Laramie has three favorites to win a state title this weekend. They are seniors Anna Roesler and Natalie Six, and junior Ashlyn Mathes. Roesler is the defending champion on the 100 butterfly race and is also favored in the 200 freestyle race. Mathes won the 500 freestyle a year ago and is considered a favorite this year. Six comes in as the one to beat in diving.

Hudson looks at all three and believes they will lead the way.

“Beginning with Anna, she’s going to start us out. It’s no secret, I’m swimming Anna Roesler in the 200 free. She’s pretty much run the table on that race most of the year. Kira Brownell (Cheyenne Central) has been really tough there, and Berkeley’s (Christensen, Campbell County) been tough, too, but Anna’s favored there, and if she can start us off with an individual victory there, that’s going to be a great way to go. Natalie (Six) has not been beaten all year on the diving board. She looks really strong right now. Her biggest competition is within her own team with Mallorie Hamel, in my opinion, who’s also done a great job coming up. Ashlyn is the defending champ in the 500 free, so she just has to go out and prove it again.”

The state meet is back in Gillette for the first time since November 2019. Hudson says it’ll be a little weird traveling for the state championships.

“Thinking about getting on a bus to go to Gillette again because we’ve hosted so many in a row now cause of the COVID protocols and all that, so it’s kind of exciting. I mean, the blood gets pumping when you see the signs in Gillette. You know, you go in there and the smells of the pool and all that stuff, it just gets you ready to go. It feels like a championship meet when you get there.”

What will it take to win five straight?

Hudson says, “Like always, a mix or balance of our top-end strength and a lot of depth. If we can score a lot of points in the consolation finals with our younger swimmers, our less experienced swimmers, that’ll be the key for us. I think our top-end swimmers are going to take care of business, okay, it’s just a matter of how the depth comes out, and then, diving is always a huge key for us. We are very strong in diving going into this, and if they just do what they know how to do, we’ll score a lot of points there, hopefully.”

The two teams chasing Laramie are Cheyenne Central and Campbell County. The question is, will they have enough to prevent LHS from a fifth straight title? We’ll find out in Gillette on Friday and Saturday.

POKES: The Seven Best Games In The History Of The Wyoming-CSU Border War Rivalry (Naturally, they were all Wyoming wins)