Out to defend their crown, the Laramie Plainsmen compete at the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships today and tomorrow in Gillette.

Laramie narrowly won last year in their home pool. It came down to the last race, and the Plainsmen edged Thunder Basin by two points.

This year Laramie enters as the favorite, but Kelly Walsh is right behind. Plus, Green River, Thunder Basin, and Cheyenne Central could be in the mix.

Plainsmen head coach Tom Hudson says for them to have a shot, they have to compete well Thursday.

“For things to happen good for you on Friday, we’ve got to get those prelim places up. So, kids have to look at where they’re ranked, and let the taper kick in, and try to move up from where they are (seeded). We are actually a little bit favored going into this… If we just kind of hold what our places are, move up here and there, we should be okay.”

Laramie has 17 state qualifiers competing across the 12 events this weekend. They are led by junior Max DeYoung, who is the defending champion in the 200 individual medley race and the 100 backstroke race.

Hudson says everybody is pursuing him.

“We’re pretty sure where we’re going to put him. I’m not going to say it on the radio, but anybody’s going to be chasing Max. Max is a competitor and he has goals. He’s really trained hard this year without any setbacks, so we’re hoping for really good things from Max, but he’s a mature swimmer, beyond his years as a junior.”

Diving will also play a large role for LHS. Senior Christopher Bury leads the charge with junior Trenton Hamel, freshman Dylan Bressler, and sophomore Matt Duncan. Hudson called that a strength of theirs.

KOWB’s David Settle sat down with DeYoung and Bury in the video above to get their thoughts on this year’s state meet, including individual events, the team goal, and a few fun items.

The Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships begin with the diving prelims and semifinals Thursday at 2 p.m. That’s followed by the swimming prelims around 4:30-to-5 p.m. All the event finals commence at 10 a.m. Friday.