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Skye Wartman, Kelly Joyce, Paige Bower, Cheyanne Farmer, Elle Ortner, Greta Morgenweck, Mahayla Allred, Kelsey Pomajzl, Tara Joyce, Hailey Holeman, Joy Woods

For anyone who hasn’t experienced the intensity of the Wyoming state high school swim meet in Gillette, it’s hard to explain just what kind of electricity is in the air.

For the Cody Fillies, it was an experience that capped off a memorable season that saw state records fall, personal best times drop and a sixth-place finish at a meet that somehow ended in a first-place tie between Green River and Lander.

“The energy in the pool is palpable at state,” coach Emily Swett said. “It was brought to a whole new level this year because you have these two great teams with impressive records. The number of things that have to happen for two teams to tie for first is pretty ridiculous.”

It was an experience to remember for the Fillies who made the trip.

“Overall it was pretty amazing,” senior Paige Bower said. “It hasn’t fully sunk in yet that it’s over, but it was an incredible last meet and I couldn’t have wished for more.”

She was part of a 400-yard freestyle relay along with Elle Ortner, Kelsey Pomajzl and Tara Joyce that pushed the top two teams to land third and get a spot on the podium.

Every race matters at state. Every race is full of excitement. The music is blaring and the swimmer’s names are announced for each event as they head for their marks to start each event.

“Everyone is cheering. The environment is so cool,” Swett said. “For someone who has never experienced it, they would love it.”

Junior Tara Joyce took that intensity and upped it a couple of notches, finishing the state meet setting a couple of new state records.

Joyce dominated the 100 and 200 yard freestyle events, breaking her own state records in each, and earned 3A Athlete of the Meet and 3A Athlete of the Year honors.

“I think state went super well,” Joyce said. “We had lots of girls make the finals and had tons of fun.”

In the 200 free she won by over 10 seconds with a new state record time of 1 minute, 58.98 seconds.

She broke her 100 free record in the prelims on Thursday, and then broke it again in the finals with a 51.49. That was 4.5 seconds faster than second place.

Joyce holds the 3A state records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 500 free.

“What’s really neat is that she is so humble and works really hard and has not just our team cheering for her, but has become someone everybody in the state is cheering on,” Swett said. “You just don’t see that every day.”

If she had had a few more yards ahead of her, she would have reeled in second place in the 400 free relay as the anchor as well.

“I can’t complain about my performance,” Joyce said. “I don’t think there was a better way to end the season other than placing a little higher as a team.”

That time may be coming next year as Joyce returns along with a number of other state qualifiers for the Cody swim team.

“Next year we will have a few more divers and our girls will be faster so I’m hoping we place really high,” Joyce said. “Go, Fillies.”

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