Buffalo High School junior diver Olivia Maertens broke the school’s six-dive record by 13.75 points at the Worland Invitational last weekend.
Her first-place dive earned 240.75 points, breaking the previous record, 227 points, set in 2012 by Grace Meacham.
For Maertens, breaking the record was a surprise.
“My warmups weren’t record-breaking dives, but as I got going I was focused and it felt really good,” she said. “As my scores kept adding up after every dive, I knew there was a possibility, and when I saw the final score, I was excited.”
Breaking the record was one of several goals set by Maertens and diving coach Heather Moses. Maertens has been learning new dives of increasing difficulty since the first weeks of the season, Moses said.
“She is just a very coachable girl,” Moses said.
Maertens and the Lady Bison started their weekend of competition on Friday at the Johnson County Family YMCA in a quad meet against Sheridan, Worland and Newcastle.
Maertens came within a few points of the previous record on Friday, earning 221.55 points, good for second place.
Senior Vivyan Gripp, who had already qualified for the state championship meet in numerous events, had a qualifying 100-yard backstroke time, 1 minute, 11.74 seconds, that was good for second place. Junior Erin Houseman was behind her in third place, finishing in 11:12.31. Gripp also placed seventh in the 200-yard freestyle.
In the 50-yard freestyle, five Lady Bison swimmers clocked races under 30 seconds, a time that head coach Caleb Cohoon says is tough to achieve.
“Everyone is swimming faster and their endurance is getting better,” he said.
Senior Keesee Bennett-McDonnell led the way in second place with a time of 28.43 seconds, a little more than four-tenths of a second off of a 3A state qualifying time. Maertens was fourth in 28.85, sophomore Claire Hicks was seventh with a personal best of 29.53, senior Ryleigh Holmes was eighth in 29.85, and junior Maddie Ludwig finished ninth in 29.86.
Hicks also took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing in 1:22.13.
Two Lady Bison relays, the 200-yard medley (2:10.89) and the 400-yard freestyle (4:26.19), with Houseman, Gripp, freshman Brook Darnell and Maertens, each took third place. The 200-yard freestyle relay with Houseman, Darnell, Ludwig and Holmes was second in 1:56.03.
Three Buffalo swimmers qualified for state championship races on Saturday at the Worland Invitational. Gripp and Houseman qualified in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, respectively.
Gripp is now qualified for the state meet in every individual event — a goal she set for herself for her senior season.
Gripp was fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:01.35 and Bennett-McDonnell was fifth in 1:02.27. Houseman was eighth in the 100-yard backstroke, which she finished in 1:11.89.
The Lady Bison added one more swimmer to its growing state swim roster when Darnell qualified in the 100-yard fly in 1:13.50, a time good for ninth place.
Maertens took first in diving with 240.75 points in a crowded field of 3A divers. Gripp was also a first-place swimmer for the Lady Bison in the 100-yard breaststroke, which she swam in 1:16.69.
Bennett-McDonnell came closer to that 28-second qualifying time in the 50-freestyle, finishing seventh in 28.22. Houseman was eighth in 28.40.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Houseman, Gripp, Bennett-McDonnell and Holmes was fourth in 2:09.04. Maertens, Darnell, Hicks and sophomore Kylee Hart were seventh in the same event, finishing in 2:22.83.
The 200-yard freestyle relay with Holmes, Bennett-McDonnell, Houseman and Gripp was fifth in 1:53.74.
Next up for the Lady Bison is the Douglas Invitational on Saturday. The Douglas pool is measured in meters instead of yards, which will affect swimmers’ times, Cohoon said.