As the new high school boys’ swimming and diving season starts, it’s a new look for the Laramie Plainsmen.

Gone is Max DeYoung, who was the 4A Swimmer of the Meet and 4A Swimmer of the Year the last three seasons. A few other valuable point-scorers have graduated, as well.

Now for the 2020-21 season, a young team takes center stage.

Tom Hudson, now in his 31st year as head coach at LHS, fully understands where his team stands even at the start of the season. Hudson says they’ve got 30 kids out with 13 of them freshmen, and with only three seniors, it really is a young squad.

He still says he likes a lot about this team.

“It’s going to take a while to groom ‘em (this young team) and get ‘em to where they’re contributing for points, but happy with the numbers. We do return 11 state qualifiers from last year’s team, one state champion in Mace Spiker-Miller (100 butterfly), but we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Laramie is the three-time defending Class 4A champs. To reach four straight looks to be a tight battle. Hudson says Cheyenne Central and Kelly Walsh are both really good, and that the Trojans return more points than they do, but he feels his team will be in the hunt for a state title.

With more youth comes more work, according to Hudson, and he knows where it will start to get them to where they need to be by the end of the season.

“It starts, like it does every year, with conditioning. We’re going to work a lot of technique early and during our camp at Christmas break, and just teaching these new guys how to swim and training the other guys, and getting them tough. Right now the practices have been going really well, really good attendance, and so far, knock on wood, everybody’s been healthy, too.”

That will be a key for each team across the state during this COVID 2020-21 season.

Hudson knows with the loss of DeYoung, Laramie must improve in the IM and backstroke events, the two DeYoung won at last February’s 4A state meet. Another area is just overall depth.

“Those are going to be our two glaring weaknesses. We’re pretty solid across the board in everything else. Not super deep, we need to develop our depth, for sure.”

His goal is 16 state qualifiers for LHS this season.

KOWB’s David Settle caught up with juniors Dylan Bressler and Collin Fontana to talk about the season outlook for the Plainsmen in the pool and on the diving board.

Laramie opens with the Laramie Relays on Friday and the Laramie Pentathlon on Saturday at home.

Hudson says, “First of all for the relays, that’s always kind of a fun meet. We look to just even things out on our relays. Not really going out to win them all, but just to place top two in all of them. Although it’s different this year, there’s only four teams. Hopefully, we’ll win a couple of them along the way. It’s just going against the Cheyenne teams (Central, East, South). Then, honestly, on Saturday, we look to start getting some guys qualified for state. It’s the short events, a hundred of everything plus a 50 free. Something Laramie’s good at is distance swimming, and we won’t get to do that this week, but we’ll look to qualify as many as possible on Saturday.”

Laramie will travel to Green River, Gillette, Sheridan, and Cheyenne during the season, but they caught a break when the state championships were moved to Laramie because of the setup of the pool at LHS. That means the Plainsmen will be at home for the final four weekends of their season.

The Class 4A Wyoming High School Boys’ Swimming & Diving State Championships are Feb. 18 and 19, 2021.

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