SHERIDAN — Piper Carroll has attended the Western Zone Senior Championships for the past three years. And in her third trip this past weekend, she decided to make it even more memorable, road tripping to the swim meet held in Clovis, California.
Carroll drove to the meet with Sheridan High School teammates Jadyn Mullikin and Zoe Robison, stopping at a couple national parks and in Las Vegas before diving in the competition pool.
Those three joined former Sheridan Bronc Oscar Patten and 32 other swimmers from around the Equality State to make up the Wyoming All-Star Team. The All-Star team format — combining some of the best swimmers statewide in one of the biggest long-course meets of the summer season — is fun for many of the swimmers as they have the opportunity to join high school rivals and friends from all over Wyoming.
“We compete against each other all the time, so we all know each other really well, so it’s fun to hang out with them the whole week,” Carroll said.
The coaches find a similar enjoyment.
“It’s just super fun to be able to go down there as a whole new group of kids from Wyoming, rather than just competing just the four of them,” head coach Brent Moore said. “Everybody coming together as Team Wyoming makes it a lot more exciting for those kids.”
Moore headed up the team as a result of his position as senior vice chair of the board within Wyoming Swimming. His swimmers came from all corners of the state, and while he walked away impressed with the team collectively, he also stood particularly pleased with how his four Sheridan swimmers performed.
“I thought we did great,” Moore said. “We had several kids qualify for finals. Oscar and Piper swam several finals. They placed in the top 25 out of 1,600 athletes.”
Moore has coached at Sheridan for seven years. He has built a program that contends at the top of the state both individually and as a team.
Moore has helped numerous swimmers reach the top of the podium and go on to compete within the collegiate ranks, and upper-echelon meets like the Western Zone Senior Championships are a necessary step in building that success.
“It’s huge, and it has helped our team a lot,” Moore said. “It has built our culture. Kids want to make those trips. They want to qualify for those higher-level meets, and it’s just a great platform to get some times and be challenged.”
Carroll has seen marked improvement over her three years. In her inaugural year, the soon-to-be Sheridan senior only qualified for one event. In year two, Carroll swam in two, and the 2018 meet saw her qualify in seven events and advance to finals in a pair of those swims.
“I really like going to this meet because you can just see how much you’ve improved,” Carroll said.
Carroll placed 21st in the 19-and-under, 50-meter freestyle with a time of 27.66 seconds. She also anchored the 19-and-under, 400-meter medley relay that touched 20th, clocking in at 4 minutes, 36.51 seconds — Mullikin led off the relay.
Patten placed 13th in the 19-and-under, 50-meter freestyle with a time of 24.70. He also led off the 19-and-under, 400-meter freestyle relay that finished 22nd with a time of 3:44.50, and anchored the 19-and-under, 400-meter medley relay that placed 23rd, clocking in at 4:09.47.
Robison’s best finish came in the 19-and-under, 800-meter freestyle relay, where she swam the third leg, that touched 31st with a time of 9:07.48 — Carroll swam the second leg of the relay.
The girls swim season sits just around the corner, and the Western Zone Senior Championships should serve as a strong springboard to the fall high school season for a few Lady Broncs.