While the majority of the Buffalo High School swim team didn’t get to relax for the “break” part of the Christmas break, the extra time in the pool seemed to pay off Saturday in Gillette as Buffalo faced both Campbell County High School and Thunder Basin in dual meets at the Campbell County Aquatics Center.

“After going hard for four weeks, taking a week or two off over the Christmas break is just counter productive,” coach Mike Miller said. “The conditioning is definitely an aspect we just can’t go back on.”

It was the first time the Gillette schools hosted a meet like the one on Saturday, with a dominant 4A Kelly Walsh team also making the trip to Campbell County.

Still missing some swimmers from the break and senior standout John Wonka sidelined with an illness, the Bison still put up some impressive times and hung right with the 4A competition.

Brogan Byrum dominated in the 500 free to qualify for state in 5 minutes, 15.67 seconds. That places him with the No. 2 time in 3A state qualifying.

After Saturday, the freshman is qualified in every event he has swum.

Fellow freshman Charlie Wonka crushed the competition in the 200 IM in 2:21.22 for his personal best time. His 57.58 in the 100 butterfly put him light years ahead of the rest of the field on Saturday. That time is the third best 100 fly qualifying time in the state.

“Our kids are doing extremely well,” Miller said. “Brogan and Charlie are at or near the top of the qualifiers with their times. The Lander kids may be the only ones ahead of them. It was nice for everyone to back into competition.”

Seth Felbeck landed fourth in diving and keeps improving as he prepares for state diving. Felbeck also qualified in the 100 breast in 1:16.77.

The Bison didn’t exactly save the best for last on Saturday. A new lineup stormed out in the 200 IM medley relay to swim their fastest time of the season in 1:51.02 and finish second behind the Kelly Walsh A team.

With Porter Wing leading off in the backstroke, Charlie Wonka next in the breast, Byrum moving to the butterfly and John Zorbas finishing off in the freestyle it proved to be a new combination that might not need a lot more tweaking.

“Porter and Hamlin Wing had great swims on Saturday. Hamlin dropped eight seconds on his IM, and Porter qualified in the 100 free,” Miller said. “John Zorbas has been really good for our relays and is very close to qualifying times in the 100 free as well.”

The Bison swimmers won’t get much of a break this week either. Buffalo will host meets Jan. 9 and 14, and hit the road for meets Jan. 10 and 11 in Sheridan.

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