Laramie wins sixth straight title at Class 4A state swim meet

Nov. 6—LARAMIE — Ashlyn Mathes wasn't expecting a team title in her final year at Laramie High.

Mathes, a senior on the Lady Plainsmen's girls swimming and diving team, wanted to do everything she could to help her team claim its sixth consecutive team title at this weekend's Class 4A state meet. She did just that, winning individual state titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle Saturday morning.

"I feel astonishment and joy the most right now," Mathes said. "We did not go into this meet expecting to win. I'm really proud of the girls on this team. They are such hard workers and it's such a supportive environment.

"I was ready. I had already accepted that second place was going to be amazing with them. But going into the finals today, (coach Tamara Bretting) told us we were in a position to win. I was stunned that that was even something we could look at. And we did it. What a way to end my senior year."

Mathes won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 54.57 seconds and followed that with a state title in the 500 freestyle by touching the timing pad at 5:17.71. While both medals are testaments to her hard work, Mathes looks at each accomplishment with a different frame of mind.

"The 500 free, that's kind of my baby," Mathes said. "That's my event. This is the third year I've won it, and that one I really enjoy swimming it. The 200 was unexpected. I had a lot of competition there throughout the entire season. I was not winning that one consistently at all.

"Going into state, I was interested to see who was going to be racing me. I was kind of stunned that I was the state champ for that 200. But I was most pleased with that 200 free."

Laramie won the team title with a score of 240, followed by Cheyenne Central with 222. Cheyenne East finished seventh (82) and Cheyenne South was ninth (61).

Mathes wasn't just awarded two state championship medals. She was named the co-athlete of the year following the meet, alongside Kelly Walsh's Chayse Schlerkolk.

Laramie's sixth consecutive state title was Bretting's first as head coach. She took over for longtime coach Tom Hudson, who coached the school's swim program for 32 years.

In her first career state meet, Bretting was voted the 4A coach of the year.

"I never thought we'd be able to be in first place in this one," Bretting said. "It was not supposed to be this way, but I'll take it. ... The credit for the award goes to the kids of course, but also Tom Hudson. He trained me and he was my mentor and he was amazing. He set me up for success and these girls worked so hard and had a lot of trust in me and I'm so thankful for that."

Mathes swam under Hudson for three years before he announced his retirement. While admittedly she was skeptical of Bretting taking over at first, Mathes was impressed with Bretting's ability to lead as a coach over the course of the season.

"I was beyond impressed with Tamara's coaching," Mathes said. "She really took that role that was handed to her and ran with it. I'm so unbelievably proud of both her and this entire team. I can't believe it's over."

Laramie had 14 finishes in the top six, including Mathes' two state titles. Rowyn Birdsley finished second in the 1-meter diving with a final score of 395.40 and Maya Peterson was the state runner-up in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.61.

Peterson, Libbie Roesler, Braley Smith and Kenna Davis finished third in the 200 medley relay clocking in at 1:53.23; and Roesler, Mathes, Michelle Shoales and Brooklyn Smith finished third in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:42.83. Shoales finished fourth in the 500 freestyle at 5:37.68 and the team of Mathes, Davis, Shoales and Peterson finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:43.60.

Davis finished fifth in the 200 individual medley in 2:20.09 and Peterson finished fifth in the 100 butterfly at 1:02.98. Therese Richardson finished sixth in the 50 freestyle (25.64), Roesler finished sixth in the 100 freestyle (57.44), Brooklyn Smith was sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:47.08) and Braley Smith finished sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:03.66).

Cheyenne has strong showing

Central won two more events than Laramie but finished second in the standings by 18 points.

Three individuals and one relay team left the pool with state titles for the Indians. Emily Meares won the 100 butterfly with a time of 59.56 seconds, Izzy DeLay won the 100 breaststroke (1:06.20), Brinkley Lewis won the 1-meter diving with a score of 427.75 points, and the team of DeLay, Meares, Kayleigh Hood and Sydney Gough won the 200 medley relay at 1:52.30.

Central had 10 more finishes inside the top six at this weekend's state meet. DeLay finished second in the 200 individual medley (2:12.14), just .06 seconds off of state champion Skye Rehard of Campbell County.

The stinging loss in individual medley motivated DeLay during her state title run in the 100 breast, she said.

"That definitely motivated me," DeLay said. "I was fired up and I was excited and I was happy with my time because I was right with her. That really boosted my ego for the rest of the meet."

Andie Prince finished fourth in the 200 individual medley at 2:19.25 and fourth in the 100 butterfly in 1:02.25. Hood finished fourth in the 100 backstroke at 1:02.46.

Addi Dalton finished fifth in the 1-meter diving by tallying 353.10 points and Jaesa Whitesell was fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:37.85). Hood, Prince, Kyla Jackson and Lilly Leman finished fifth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.27 and Meares, Prince, DeLay and Jackson finished fifth in the 400 freestyle at 3:45.08.

Meares finished sixth in the 200 freestyle (2:00.17) and Whitesell was sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.63).

Central's Talan Premer was also named the Class 4A assistant coach of the year after the meet.

"Just to be able to be in contention for a title at the state meet, I think the girls did the absolute best that they could," Premer said. "I think that they're going to walk away today with a hunger for more."

For Cheyenne East, Sydni Sawyer was the state runner-up in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:25.50. Sawyer also finished third in the 200 freestyle in 1:59.97 and Bailey Shannon was third in the 100 breaststroke at 1:10.07.

Cheyenne South's lone top six finish was a sixth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay by Janaeh Brown, Hannah Fisher, Paula Musslick and Elsie Gilliland at 4:00.02.

Alex Taylor covers the University of Wyoming for WyoSports. He can be reached at or 269-364-3560. Follow him on Twitter at @alex_m_taylor22