Paige Bower offered a daring prediction for the Cody High School girls swim team that represents more than a digit.
“Ten,” she said. “It’s a good number.”
It would be. The Fillies sophomore was talking about the talent on the 2019 team which opens its season Aug. 30-31 with two meets in Rawlins.
“I have a feeling we’ll have a lot more girls go to state,” she said.
The number 10 in this case represents how much potential the Fillies and coach Buffy Allred thinks they could send that many to state.
With a roster of about 20, with top swimmers returning from last year’s eighth-place finish at state and third-place finish at conference, and the addition of freshmen who are not novices, the team should feature as much talent depth as it has had in years.
This is despite some unexpected injury setbacks.
Senior Sidney Johnson remembers how thin the roster was her freshman year when the Fillies had only a few competitors who could place in big meets.
“It was maybe 12 girls,” Johnson said of the whole roster.
Things are different now, with the influx of new classes of skilled swimmers.
“It’s a very exciting year,” Allred said. “I have some confident girls. This is going to be an awesome season.”
She did not flinch over Powell’s guess of 10 state-meet qualifiers.
“I’m hoping so,” Allred said. “That is a possibility.”
Johnson qualified for the state meet in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and the 200 individual medley last year. Her goal is to add one more good event, but she’s not sure in which stroke a breakthrough can come.
“I don’t know yet,” Johnson said. “Whatever I start out good in. The fly maybe. I started good in the 100 back. I practice all of them.”
Johnson does not want to jump to the 200 and 500 in the freestyles – too long for her.
“I truly think I just get bored in the longer ones,” she said.
Those are senior Marissa Rosenbaum’s specialities. As does every swimmer, she desires to record swifter times, but after qualifying for state she said she mostly just wants to have fun in her last year of high school swimming.
“I’ve already proven to myself that I’m a good swimmer,” Rosenbaum said. She feels she has been building strength her whole career. “I think all four years, you’re just getting better and better.”
Junior Megan Boysen hopes that is true. Boysen is the fastest swimmer on the team and posted state qualifying times in every individual event but one, the 100 breaststroke.
“I’ll try, but I’m a terrible breaststroker,” Boysen said.
Last year she broke school records in the 100-meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly and wants to add the yards records for both events.
“I’m really close in both,” Boysen said. “I would love to get All-State. I’ve been swimming a lot this summer.”
While the Fillies expect to be strong regardless, there have been some unexpected personnel issues.
Junior Brylee Allred, 16, the coach’s daughter, has not been able to swim yet because a few weeks ago she began experiencing heart issues. She had blackouts and headaches and is being monitored.
“I really just want to get back in the pool with my teammates,” Allred said. “It kind of stinks.”
She is awaiting an updated doctor’s report, but said she is “scared” she could miss the whole season.
Senior Maya Snyder almost surely will because of chronic back pain. She said doctors tell her she can swim if she feels better, but she is penciled in as the team manager.
Shelby Register graduated early, coach Allred said.
Sophomore Tayleigh Hopkin and senior Kae VanNortrick were also both state competitors last year, as was Emma Cook.
Hopkins said she wants to knock some time off her best 50 and knows she can improve in butterfly and breaststroke with minor modifications to her strokes.
“It’ just all technique,” Hopkins said. “It’s really getting down every little thing.”
VanNortrick moved to Cody from Colorado last year and was a last-minute state qualifier.
“It felt really great,” she said. “It tells me I have the potential to get better times.”
Bower has personal time targets on her mind, to get under six minutes in the 500 and under 1:10 in the backstroke, both of which seem in reach. But she is most excited about the team prospects.
“There are definitely a lot of people who are going to do good things,” she said.
Allred expects quick development from the freshmen based on their CKAT club swimming and middle school participation.
She said there are many more potential scorers on the roster, going beyond merely the contenders for top finishes.
“Those people are just as important,” Allred said.