Porter Laing can no longer consider himself a novice diver, even though the senior was well into high school before he took it up, not someone who has been scoring points for artistry since he was in elementary school.
In a rare regular-season full dive program of 11 rather than the usual six, Laing rang up the best score of the day, beating Worland’s best in the 1-meter event at the Rec Center Friday during the Cody swim team’s Senior Night.
An ecstatic Laing broke a barrier by scoring 300.65 points. The 11-event diving is demanded at conference and state, so Laing put up a confidence-building performance in Worland’s 168-112 victory in the dual meet.
“It was pretty good,” Laing said. “I was impressed with myself. I think it really helps prepare me for conference and state.”
Of hitting the 300-point mark, he said, “That was pretty sweet.”
Coach Jason Koperski was stoked about Laing’s clean dives.
“He did phenomenal,” Koperski said.
Freshman Joseph Killpack’s showing in the 50-yard freestyle might fit in the same classification. Killpack’s time of 25.64 seconds gave him a qualifying time in that event for the 3A state championships at season’s end. But the bigger picture is that Killpack, who also won the 100 backstroke, has now qualified for that title meet in six individual events.
“I was excited when he got another one in there,” Koperski said. “As a freshman, that’s awesome.”
Other swimmers trimmed many seconds off previous personal bests. Peter Kim stopped the clock in 2 minutes, 24.48 seconds in the 200 freestyle, an improvement of 12 seconds. Bradley Fick knocked more than four seconds off his old personal record in the 200 individual medley with a 2:28.72.
While Killpack was zipping his sub-26.00 qualifying time, several other Cody swimmers were establishing personal milestones in the 50. Joren Vipperman recorded a 26.87, a .10 improvement as he continues to chase the qualifying standard.
Junior Ethan Hope, who never broke 30 seconds before this season and was already in the 29s, made a leap of another full second, clocking in at 28.72 seconds. Likewise, Andrew Eissinger at 28.75. Tanner Barton’s 29.90 was a new top mark for him.
“It’s kind of shocking,” Hope said of his new personal best in the 28s. “This year I wanted to start beating people, winning my heat. My best was 30-something. The 50 is really fun. There’s no time to breathe. You just have to perfect everything in it.”
One of the more dramatic races to watch was the 4x100-yard relay, the last event of the day.
“They came back from a 25-yard Worland lead,” Koperski said of his group of Vipperman, Laing, Killpack and Fick. “Bradley caught them and beat them by half a pool length.”
Laing was in the middle of the action all day. He was one of six seniors recognized, along with Anbo Yao, TC Hansen, Max Peters, Dillon Romero and Daniel Allen. Then he had his diving moment. And then he was part of the victorious relay. But he also swam the 500 freestyle for the first time ever.
A sprinter, not a distance competitor, Laing said going into last weekend he had never swum the 100 butterfly or the 500 and thought he would like to try every event once during his high school career. Koperski said it could be the day for the 500, asking, “You want to do this?” And he heard back, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
It took Laing 7:32.07, good for third place.
“I just thought, ‘I’ll go for it,’” Laing said. “I’ll just try it.”
What Laing crammed into one meet definitely seemed to be an interesting day’s work.
“Yeah, it was,” he said.
Teams: Worland 168, Cody 112.
200-yard medley relay: 1) Cody (Joseph Killpack, TC Hansen, Bradley Fick, Joren Vipperman, 1:59.33. 4) Cody (Max Peters, Ian Graham, Anbo Yao, Trevor Freyder), 2:16.21.
200 freestyle: 3) Peter Kim, 2:24.48; 4) Freyder, 2:34.43; 6) Peters, 2:34.65.
200 individual medley: 2) Fick, 2:28.72; 5) Hansen, 2:53.17.
50 freestyle: 2) Killpack, 25.74; 5) Vipperman, 26.87; 6) Yao, 27.14; 8) Dillon Romero, 28.54; 10) Ethan Hope, 28.72; 11) Andrew Eissinger, 28.75; 13) Tanner Barton, 29.90; 14) Kyle Graham, 30.81; 15) Ian Graham, 31.90; 16) Andrew Thomas, 35.66; 18) Helaman Hansen, 36.64.
1-meter diving: 1) Porter Laing, 300.65 points.
100 butterfly: 2) Fick, 1:04.85.
100 freestyle: 4) Yao, 1:05:04; 5) Freyder, 1:06.75; 7) Hope, 1:08.50; 9) Barton, 1:11.00; 11) Thomas, 1:26.64.
500 freestyle: 3) Laing, 7:32.07; 4) I. Graham, 7:54.55.
200 freestyle relay: 2) Cody (Romero, Kim Freyder, Peters), 1:57.73; 4) Cody (Barton, Eissinger, Thomas, K. Graham), 2:10.30.
100 backstroke: 1) Killpack, 1:06.22; 3) Peters, 1:25.28; 5) Eissinger, 1:30.05; 6) K. Graham, 1:43.78.
100 breaststroke: 4) TC Hansen, 1:19.59; 7) Kim, 1:34.56; 8) H. Hansen, 1:39.79.
4x100 relay: 1) Cody (Vipperman, Laing, Killpack, Fick), 4:09.96.