SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Broncs swimming and diving team only had four days away from the pool for winter break. But even that brief hiatus made its presence felt within each student-athlete.
“Hopping back into the pool the very first day after Christmas was a little rough,” Sheridan’s Sam Sampson said.
The Broncs got back after it full-time Tuesday, following another two-day break for New Years, and they’re looking forward to hosting the Sheridan Pre Invite and Invite Friday and Saturday at Sheridan Junior High School.
The time away from the pool isn’t ideal for Sheridan head coach Brent Moore, but it’s par for the course during the boy’s season. The Broncs have always had to dance around the holiday festivities, getting in the pool whenever possible. Many of the Broncs took the full two weeks off for the holidays, traveling out of town to visit family. For those swimmers, the time away does quite a bit of harm to the workload they’ve already put in through November and December.
“The guys that took the full two weeks off, we are starting from scratch, basically,” Moore said. “… It’s a little disappointing, but it is what it is. It’s always this way during boy’s season, and we’ll press on. There’s no sense in dwelling on it.
“… There’s time to put the work back in and get it done.”
Oscar Patten remained in Sheridan and put in plenty of extra work. The Broncs standout only took Christmas day off, swimming on his own time at the YMCA. Patten — who said his injured right knee is at about 95 percent — missed the opening weekend in Gillette because of the leg ailment but returned and showed well at the Kelly Walsh Pre-Invite, winning both individual events by large margins.
Sampson, Noah Hodges and Thomas Yates have also experienced strong starts to the season. All three, along with Patten, have booked their trip to the state meet in Laramie, earning qualifying times during the first two months of the season.
The Sheridan Pre Invite and Invite marks the first opportunity for local swim fans, along with friends and family, to get a glance at the Broncs without having to travel outside city limits, which makes for an enjoyable atmosphere for the swimmers and divers.
“It’s really fun,” Sampson said. “You get to see a lot of your friends from around the state. It’s nice to have some support from Sheridan. Generally, it’s only parents that come to all our meets out of town, so it’s nice to see some friends come and support the team.
“Overall, it’s a great meet and a great time.”
The Pre Invite Friday will feature Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South and Sheridan while the field Saturday adds Campbell County, Thunder Basin and Laramie to the trio of aforementioned teams.
Friday’s meet will begin at 4 p.m., and Saturday’s competition will begin with diving at 9 a.m. followed by an hour-long warmup period before the swimming events get underway at approximately 11 a.m.