LINCOLN — Not many boys in the history of the Scottsbluff/Gering swimming and diving program can say that they earned two medals at the Nebraska state meet.
Jon Wiebe made sure Friday that he’ll be putting his name on that short list.
The talented, speedy Wiebe had a sensational showing in his preliminary events in the Nebraska state meet at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Competing in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, Wiebe recorded top-five finishes in both events to guarantee himself a top-eight finish and two medals in today’s finals. The finals, which begin at 10 a.m., will be televised by NETV.
“It’s really cool to be able to do that,” Wiebe said. “To say I got two medals at state, that’s a great feeling. It’s a big personal achievement.”
Wiebe, a senior who placed 10th in the 50 freestyle at last year’s state meet and is the program’s record-holder in the 50 freestyle (21.88 seconds), posted the fifth-fastest prelim time in that event Friday. His time of 22.03 seconds was just behind the 21.88 clocking by Millard South’s James Glover, who ended fourth, and the 21.81 time by Lincoln East’s Hayden Pinkman, who was third.
Creighton Prep sophomore Sean Tate posted the fastest 50 freestyle time (20.86), and Millard South’s Neil Girmus had the second-fastest time (21.30).
Although Wiebe didn’t record a season-best time in the 50 freestyle prelims, he still walked away from the event feeling excited.
“In the 50 free, things didn’t go exactly like how I had planned, but I still ended up in very good standing for [today],” he said.
Wiebe did earn a personal-best time in the 100 freestyle prelims, taking nearly a second off his previous-best time with a clocking of 48.48 seconds. That time put him third in the overall prelim standings behind Grand Island’s Lucas Van Wie, who was second in 48.20, and Tate, who was first in 46.57.
“A third and a fifth are both incredible accomplishments for me,” said Wiebe, who placed first in both of his prelim heats. “It’s far and above what I ever expected here. It’s a huge personal thing for me, no matter how I do [today]. Just making it to finals is a relief in itself.”
Scottsbluff/Gering coach Mike Hayhurst said Wiebe has worked hard on his starts in the last few months, and his effort paid off big-time on Friday.
“His start was excellent in both of them,” Hayhurst said. “His start has really become a weapon, so I’m really proud of the work he’s put in to make that better.”
Wiebe said guaranteeing himself a spot in the top eight in both events in the finals today takes some pressure off of him.
“I feel a lot more mellow, a lot more cool headed going into the finals,” he said. “The stress of [earning a medal] is a huge burden off my back.”
Although Wiebe will have a tough challenge today of fending off some very fast swimmers, Hayhurst said Wiebe has what it takes to compete with the best.
“He’s always stepped up and swam really well when he’s been in tight races,” Hayhurst said.
Wiebe was the only Seacat to advance to today’s finals.
The Scottsbluff/Gering girls were led by the 200 medley relay team, which placed 18th. The foursome of Vanessa Woolsey, Sarah Cloud, Erin Weatherman, and McKayla Stark finished the race with a time of 2:01.12.
Also cracking the top 20 was the 400 freestyle relay team. The team of Stark, Woolsey, Cierra Weatherfield, and Emily Yanke was 20th in 3:59.15.
Cloud ended 25th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:14.07, and Woolsey was 26th in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.86. Weatherfield competed in two individual events, placing 27th in the 500 freestyle in 5:44.96 and 31st in the 200 IM in 2:27.94.
For the Scottsbluff/Gering boys, the 200 medley relay team of Nick Childs, Spencer Lake, Daniel Schaub, and Wiebe placed 19th in 1:48.43. The 400 freestyle relay team of Childs, Baylen Smith, Zach Puckett, and Schaub was 25th in 3:39.98.
On Thursday, Noah Miller took 10th place in diving with a score of 305.55 points.
Hayhurst said he was proud of how all of his swimmers competed Friday, especially since nearly all of them registered personal-best times. Cloud, for instance, dropped about 3 seconds off her previous-best time in the 100 breaststroke.
“They stepped up and swam really, really well, so we’re pretty excited about how everything went as far as times,” Hayhurst said.
Seacat Girls Results
200 medley relay–18, Scottsbluff/Gering (Vanessa Woolsey, Sarah Cloud, Erin Weatherman, McKayla Stark), 2:01.12.
200 IM–31, Cierra Weatherfield, 2:27.94.
100 butterfly–26, Vanessa Woolsey, 1:05.86.
500 freestyle–27, Cierra Weatherfield, 5:44.96.
100 breaststroke–25, Sarah Cloud, 1:14.07.
400 freestyle relay–20, Scottsbluff/Gering (McKayla Stark, Vanessa Woolsey, Cierra Weatherfield, Emily Yanke), 3:59.15.
Seacat Boys Results
200 medley relay–19, Scottsbluff/Gering (Nick Childs, Spencer Lake, Daniel Schaub, Jon Wiebe), 1:48.43.
50 freestyle–5, Jon Wiebe, 22.03.
100 freestyle–3, Jon Wiebe, 48.48.
200 freestyle relay–Scottsbluff/Gering, DQ
400 freestyle relay–25, Scottsbluff/Gering (Nick Childs, Baylen Smith, Zach Puckett, Daniel Schaub), 3:39.98.
Diving–10, Noah Miller, 305.55 points.