HASTINGS — Even without competing with its full squad, the Scottsbluff/Gering swimming and diving team still managed to excel in the opening meet of the season on Saturday in Hastings.
The Seacats, who competed without a number of members because of other school-related activities and sickness, posted fourth-place finishes in both the boys and girls divisions.
“We were missing 12 kids because of different activities and sickness. Considering that, I think it was a pretty solid performance,” Scottsbluff/Gering coach Mike Hayhurst said. “The kids all swam their best times for this time of the year and a lot of them swam lifetime best times. To be able to do that in the third week of the season is pretty good.”
In the boys division, Jon Wiebe led the Seacats’ charge with a pair of first-place finishes. Wiebe, a senior, easily won both the 50 and 100 freestyle events. He won the 50 in a time of 22.71 seconds and claimed the 100 in a time of 50.58. Both proved to be automatic state-qualifying times.
Wiebe was the lone Seacat to record an automatic state-qualifying time. However, Scottsbluff/Gering finished the meet with 10 secondary-qualifying times. Nick Childs posted one of those secondary times by placing fifth in the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:03.20.
The rest of the secondary times were recorded by the Seacat girls.
Cierra Weatherfield, Marissa Deblick and Vanessa Woolsey all had two of those swims. Weatherfield finished third in the 200 freestyle in 2:12.53 and placed second in the 500 freestyle in 5:55.41. Deblick was second in the 200 individual medley in 2:30.79 and fourth in the 100 backstroke in 1:10.55. Woolsey swam to a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke in 1:07.73 and a third-place finish in the 100 butterfly in 1:08.34.
The other two secondary-qualifying times were set in relay events. The team of Deblick, Weatherfield, Woolsey and McKayla Stark finished second in the 400 freestyle relay in 4:08.32, while the team of Deblick, Woolsey, Stark and Sarah Cloud placed fourth in the 200 medley relay in 2:05.31.
Scottsbluff/Gering also received a first-place finish from Noah Miller in the boys diving competition. Miller totaled a winning score of 162 points.
Hayhurst couldn’t have been much prouder of how his team competed in the first meet of the season, especially since so many competitors are in their first season with the program.
“I’m very pleased with how the kids responded to the first meet of the year,” he said. “We had a lot of scared freshmen who’ve never swam before or competed in much of anything before, so I thought they handled the pressure and the meet situation really well. They did everything we asked them to do. I was very proud.”
Columbus finished on top in the girls team race, while Norfolk won the team title in the boys division.
The Seacats will return to action on Friday in a quadrangular in McCook.