Seacats ready to give their best shot at state meet
     2013-02-21      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Senior Seacat Spencer Lake is prepped for the upcoming state swim meet this week. Lake is a member of the boys' 200 medley relay team consisting of senior Jon Wiebe, senior Nick Childs and junior Daniel Schaub. 
Scottsbluff/Gering swimming and diving head coach Mike Hayhurst said the best element the Seacats can learn, and learn from, at this weekend's state meet is experience.
For starters, the Seacats will take an extra swimmer for each division with them as an alternate, a strategy necessitated especially because of the season-long uncertainty of team members' health situations this year.

Seven boys and eight girls compose the Seacats' state-qualifying delegation in the Nebraska State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Bob Devaney Sports Center's aquatic arena in Lincoln.

"We never used to take alternates, but the last few years we've had illnesses right before state," said Hayhurst, whose team has been illness-plagued much of this season.

"It's not like you can just call them up and have them come from seven hours away. We thought we better take kids with us and have them ready, and some of our options are limited to how many events kids can swim, so we started taking alternates last year."
Scottsbluff/Gering will compete in 12 events, seven individual events and five relays.

Diving will take place on Thursday, while preliminaries in the swimming events begin Friday morning and continue through Saturday. Finals will be broadcast on NETV at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Senior Jon Wiebe in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle, along with junior Noah Miller in diving, enter state with the best chances of scoring for the Seacats in Hayhurst's thinking. Wiebe finished eighth in the 50 free last season and Miller looks to advance past the first round in his second state diving meet.

"Wiebe is seeded third in the 50 and eighth in the 100, and I think Noah Miller is in good contention to score by making the top 16 in diving," Hayhurst said. Miller has the No. 20 score entering the state diving competition.

"And then the other swimmers are just going to have to let 'er rip and see what happens," Hayhurst added. "It will be good experiences for those kids."

The boys' 200 medley relay consists of Wiebe, senior Spencer Lake, senior Nick Childs and junior Daniel Schaub. The 200 freestyle relay has Wiebe, Childs, junior Zach Puckett and Schaub, and the 400 freestyle relay is composed of Childs, junior Baylen Smith, Puckett and Schaub.

Sophomore James Maag is the Seacat boys' alternate for the relays.
The Seacat girls' 200 medley relay consists of junior Vanessa Woolsey, sophomore Erin Weatherman, sophomore McKayla Stark and freshman Sarah Cloud. The 400 freestyle relay has Woolsey, Stark, sophomore Cierra Weatherfield and junior Emily Yanke, with freshman Anna Yanke as the alternate.

In the individual events, Weatherfield will compete in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle, while Cloud made the 100 breaststroke and Woolsey is in the 100 butterfly.

"It's a good experience for them, because so many of these kids have never been to big meets before," Hayhurst said of all qualifiers and alternates. "So it's a good experience, even if they're not swimming or if they're just swimming relays, now they have been there and they've seen what it's like.

"That takes a little bit of anxiety from them the next time they go. They know what to expect and it's not such a shock."

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