Keegan Money notched a new state qualifying time in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Ethan Barker hit the diving board in competition for the first time Saturday as the Buffalo High School swimming and diving team traveled to Gillette for its first competition of the new year.

“For divers, it's kind of difficult learning new dives and then going to a completely different pool atmosphere,” Miller said. “Diving boards are different, just like swimming pools. The lighting and markings are different. He did a good job.”

Miller also highlighted the performance of one of the team’s seniors at the weekend’s meet, where the Bison faced Kelly Walsh, Campbell County and Thunder Basin. 

“John Wonka had some phenomenal swims yesterday,” Miller said. He’s on fire. He really wants to do well and have a good senior year. (Saturday,) his performances were second to none.”

While Kelly Walsh and Thunder Basin topped Buffalo in dual-meet matched scoring, the Bison came out ahead of Campbell County. Miller said that rather than focusing on a competitive lineup for the meet, he gave swimmers the chance to compete in events they were personally excited about. 

One highlight for the team came in the 100-yard butterfly in which three Bison, Charlie Wonka, John Wonka and Brogan Byram, finished second, third and fourth, respectively. The trio paired with freshman Brodyn Lambert to win the 400-freestyle relay by a half-second over the team from Kelly Walsh.

As the team moves into the second half of the season, Miller is working to determine the most powerful combinations for each of the three relay events — any swimmer is only allowed to participate in two relays at a single meet.

“It's very difficult, I changed our lineup, our relays, literally four times this week,” Miller said. 

A last-minute absence at the meet forced him to make another set of changes on the day of competition. Once all of his strongest swimmers are in attendance again, Miller projects that the team could snag top-five slots on Buffalo’s all-time list for the relay events.

The team continued to practice throughout the holiday break, but with just one swimming session a day plus two lifting sessions a week, a step down from their typical doubles-practice program.

“But we're back on track now,” Miller said. “I'm excited to get back into our regular schedule and get on a consistent training routine.”

His squad eyes a full schedule in the coming week with meets Friday, Saturday and Tuesday against Sheridan, Powell and Worland.

“I'd like to give Sheridan a good meet,” Miller said. “We match up really well with them. And I think Saturday will be a big meet for us against Powell. They’re one of our closest competitors right now.”

Mara Abbott joined the Bulletin as Report for America corps member in 2019. She covers energy and natural resources. Mara’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Runner’s World.

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