The Wyoming High School State Swimming and Diving Championships for the girls’ season comes to Laramie Thursday through Saturday.

This will be the second time Laramie High School has host the state meet, after the boys’ 2018 season concluded in the Gem City last February.

Laramie coach Tom Hudson said it’s definitely different hosting and coaching in a state championship, something he learned last winter.

“Tamara (Bretting), my assistant coach and I, made a lot of lists last time when we were going through boys,’ so we’re not reinventing everything this time from a management standpoint.”

He continued, “We’re really excited to be able to host the state meet here. There’s going to be 2-and-3-thousand people descending on Laramie just for this event. That’s why we built this pool. I keep saying that, and we’re happy to fill it up.”

In Class 4A, Laramie is the defending champions. They won last year’s state crown by 10 points over Sheridan in Gillette. This time it’s in their pool and the Lady Plainsmen are the favorite.

Hudson said in terms of being in that role, “They’ve handled it pretty well. I’ve tried to keep them grounded and keep ‘em hungry and wanting to make the state meet their peak meet, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that. Now, they just have to step up and perform like they have all year long.”

Two senior captains have led this LHS team. Kelcey Anderson and Carter Burchi joined KOWB’s David Settle for a review of the season, a preview of state, swimming in their own pool, and some of the pressure or nerves that take place at state.

Laramie has 26 state qualifiers and fills every spot in their line-up with either four swimmers or four divers. That does mean only 22 of the qualifiers will actually get to compete Thursday and Friday.

Hudson said, “That is so rare. I mean, we’ve had really strong teams in the past, but to be able to fill every single spot with a quality splash or a quality swimmer, it’s hard to do, and I’m really proud that this team was able to do it. We have a chance for every one of those splashes really to score points if things work out.”

Junior Olivia McPherson leads the charge. She’s the two-time defending champion in the 50-freestyle race. She is the top-ranked swimmer in the state in the 50-free, 100-free, and 100-breaststroke. McPherson just broke the state record in the breaststroke at last Friday’s Last Chance meet in Rawlins.

Laramie will also be trying to defend their titles in the 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle relays. They have been undefeated in those two races this season, as well.

The Class 4A Girls’ Swimming and Diving State Championships begin with the diving prelims and semifinals at 2 p.m. Thursday. Swimming prelims will follow 30 minutes after diving has finished. The finals will start on Friday at 10 a.m.

Class 3A’s state meet will begin Friday at 3:30 p.m. with diving prelims and semifinals followed by the swimming prelims Friday night. Their finals are at 10 a.m. Saturday.