Gillette’s only first place finisher on Saturday at the Class 4A state girls swimming meet featured an underclassman who had already been on the top of the podium there.
Campbell County High School sophomore Berkeley Christensen took first place in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly events last year. She came back to repeat as a two-time state champ in both events, shaving time off of both races for personal bests at the Campbell County Aquatic Center on Saturday.
“It’s really awesome and just every year hopefully it’s going to turn out the same way,” she said. “But you never know who comes up.”
She clocked a time of 1:54.64 in the 200-yard freestyle and a 56.87 in the 100-yard butterfly. The goal of winning eight individual state titles — the most a Wyoming swimmer can win — remains intact halfway through Christensen’s high school career.
“It felt really good. Ended up where I wanted to be and the team, we did good,” Christensen said. “For the size of our team, I think we did really well.”
As a team, Campbell County High School finished just short of the team’s goal of finishing in the Top 3. CCHS finished fourth with 172 team points, 19 points shy of Cheyenne Central and a bronze trophy.
“Our goal was third. The goal is to bring home a trophy, and we had a shot of still doing it today,” Camels swim coach Phil Rehard said after the meet Saturday. “Central had a few more bullets in the gun and we just couldn’t catch them.
“Came up a few points short, but we’ll get back in the pool and work for next year.”
Freshman CCHS swimmer Skye Rehard was fourth in the 200-yard individual medley and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke. It was the last meet she will swim with her older sister, senior Klaire Rehard.
“It’s just crazy that it’s over so fast,” Klaire Rehard said. “I loved swimming with my sister this year, so it’s sad that it’s over now.”
Sophomore Allison Granat finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and freshman Ryann Drube was sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Campbell County’s team of Granat, Ryann Drube, Grace Bydlon and Christensen placed second the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:41.70 in the finals. In the final event of the tournament, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Camels took third place with a time of 3:44.78.
Christensen was optimistic about the future for Camels swimming.
“We’re going to lose two pretty good swimmers (Klaire Rehard and Bydlon), but I think we have some young kid swimmers that will hopefully be able to fill their shoes,” she said.
Thunder Basin High School placed 10th of 13 Class 4A teams. Senior Alaysa Porter led her team with a seventh place finish in the 500-yard freestyle and an eighth place time in the 200-yard individual medley.
“I’m happy with how I swam. I did my best, so I feel like this meet, for me, was successful,” said Porter, who does not plan to swim in college. “In my 500, when I was swimming it I was like, ‘This is my last individual race of my life.’ So I just went and I took it out as hard as I could.”
TBHS senior Libby Poley came in ninth place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.29, and senior Brenna Jones was the only diver from Gillette who placed. Jones took 12th with a score of 312.95 in the 1-meter event.
“It was definitely up and down. We had a couple girls with lifetime best swims. We had some that didn’t quite do as well as they’d want to,” Bolts coach Jade Moser said. “It just was a struggle a little bit.”
Laramie took the Class 4A team state title with 348 points, more than 100 points better than second place Green River (208). In Class 3A, Lander Valley High School won with a score of 274, and Buffalo was second with 206 points.
Laramie swimmers broke two state records during the meet. Senior Sage Morton swam a 5:03.01 in the 500-yard freestyle prelims to break the previous record of 5:07.71 set by Thunder Basin’s Sani Carsrud in 2017. And senior Olivia McPherson beat the 100-yard breaststroke record with a time of 1:02.65 in the finals. McPherson broke her own mark of 1:03.31 from the year before.
McPherson, a senior, won both of her individual events and both relays. Her junior sister, Katie McPherson, was in both relays with Olivia and won the 100-yard freestyle and was second in the 50-yard freestyle. The McPherson sisters accounted for 125 team points for Laramie.
For many of the Gillette swimmers who competed at the Class 4A meet, they will take a couple of weeks off and head right back to the pool for club swimming.
The boys’ high school swimming season starts with the Gillette Relays on Dec. 13.