For a fourth consecutive year, the Laramie High School girls swimming and diving team begins a new season as the favorite to win another state championship.

The quest for a fifth Class 4A state title starts at home this weekend and will conclude at the state championships in Gillette in early November.

Head coach Tom Hudson is in his 31st year leading the program at LHS. This fall will be his 62nd season between the boys and girls. He’s happy about how girls are participating this fall with over 50 in practice.

“It’s one of the bigger teams we’ve ever had. We have some good returning power, a whole bunch of returning depth, and a lot of returning power in diving.”

After four straight state titles, the last three in dominant fashion, Laramie is the team to beat once again.

Senior Anna Roesler and junior Ashlyn Mathes are defending individual event champions from 2020. Roesler won the 100 butterfly race last November, while Mathes captured first place in the 500 freestyle race by over 11 seconds. Both were also part of two state championship relays.

Those two, along with senior Natalie Six and junior Therese Richardson were all-state last fall. The Lady Plainsmen return 18 state qualifiers from last season, as well.

Hudson admits there are high expectations for the 2021 season.

“I think the bullseye is on our back. We don’t lose some outstanding seniors, but we get some good freshmen coming in, and we had a lot of girls train over the summer with the Laramie Swim Club and Coach Scott (Cronk). So, yes, I feel pretty good about it. I’m not overconfident, but I do think we should be favored.”

KOWB’s David Settle had a chance to visit with seniors Natalie Six and Anna Roesler in the video interview above. They talked about this year’s team and how they would characterize it. What they’re looking for in their senior season, what they’re focusing on this fall, and more.

Diving will be a strength of the team led by Six, who was the Class 4A runner-up a year ago. There are 10 divers on the rosters, six of which are returners.

Hudson added that the formula doesn’t change.

“We’re getting in a lot of conditioning in early, and we’ll start working on some relay starts and techniques, and things like that. Mostly just hitting that aerobic training right now.”

After hosting a lot of meets in the COVID season of 2020, this year’s schedule will see the squad more on the road. Laramie has trips to Casper, Gillette, Jackson, and Sheridan. The Conference Championships are in Rock Springs. The state meet is on Nov. 5 and 6 in Gillette.

Hudson says they’re still being cautious even with fewer restrictions.

“The biggest difference is we can have everyone in the pool training at one time. We are not having to space out at the end of the repeats that we do in practice, but we’re still going to be as safe as we can. We’re going to follow all the guidelines that we’re given.”

Hudson was happy they had no cases last year in either season.

Laramie begins its season with the Laramie Relays on Friday at 3 p.m., followed by the Laramie Pentathlon on Saturday at 9 a.m.

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