Riverton's Dike state swimming championNov 8, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Last season at the Class 3-A girls state swimming championships in Gillette, it was Spanish starlet Sonsoles Aguayo who stole the show for Riverton in the 100-yard freestyle, flying to a state record, winning in a time of 52.75.
This year, another Lady Wolverine made waves in the same event, as sophomore Josie Dike was crowned state champion in 54.75.
For Dike, it was a fitting end to a season which saw her on many a victory podium, which was certainly encouraging and entertaining for Riverton head coach Kelce Eckhardt, she said.
"Watching Josie win the 100 free was amazing to see," said Eckhardt."She has the potential to take first in many events.I'm sure in the future, she'll be holding some records for Riverton."
Dike was also part of the 200-yard medley relay team, which brought home third place in a time of 1:58.82, comprised also of Jordan Lewis, Kaylie Gopp and Syonia Jordan and also finished ninth in diving, with 280.10 points.
Although Dike was the Lady Wolverines' only individual winner, Gopp claimed second in the 100-yard butterfly, in 1:03.94 and was fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.74.
Jordan added a sixth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:32.31, while in the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Lady Wolverines were fourth in 1:45.15, as Lewis, Aspen Treber, Gopp and Dike combined.
As a team, Riverton finished fifth in the 12-team field with 120 points behind repeat champions Lander, who scored 322.
In comparison, the Lady Tigers arrived in Gillette with 23 qualified swimmers to Riverton's five, which means if Big Red plans on challenging its Fremont County neighbors anytime soon, more participation will be needed, said Eckhardt.
"We need to have more girls come out for swimming and diving," she said."Also, our team is mostly underclassmen.As they grow, we should see more girls qualify."
In swimming, sometimes sheer numbers will lead to success, but numbers are nothing without proper leadership and training, which is where Eckhardt comes in after moving up to the high-school level from the middle school this season, she said.
"We're trying to grow our program," said Eckhardt."It has been helpful to be the middle school girls coach as well, because I know the girls before they decide to come out for high school swimming and diving.I hope as the middle school team grows, then our high school team will grow as well."
According to Eckhardt, one way to increase participation and performance is to be multi-sport and stay in shape over the summer.
"Some of our athletes do multiple sports, so they'll be participating in other activities," said Eckhardt."I'll encourage others to participate in Riverton's swim club and lift after school and in the summer."
Eckhardt praised all her athletes who competed in Gillette.
"All the girls who swam at state did well," she said."They took off time in their events.Some of them took off an amazing amount of time and swam the best they had all season.All of them should feel proud about how they preformed at state."