by nathan oster
Connor Petty had a hand in three first-place finishes to lead the Worland Warriors to the team title in last weekend’s Class 3A Absaraka Conference swim meet in Douglas.
Connor, the son of Jeff and Jean Petty of Shell, is a junior at Worland High School. He attended Greybull High School for a year before transferring to WHS during his sophomore year, in large part to concentrate on his swimming career.
And what a career it has been to this point.
Petty was named the 3A Boys Athlete of the Meet after last year’s state competition, when he won both of his individual events — the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley — and helped the Warriors place second and third in two relay races.
This year he’s poised to do even better.
The conference meet in Douglas turned out to be another showcase of Petty’s talents. He won the 200-meter freestyle, swimming a 2:02.47 which was more than eight seconds faster than his closest pursuer, Aidan Cain of Rawlins.
Petty also defended his conference title in the 100-meter butterfly, although it wasn’t as easy. Zack Cain of Rawlins caught his attention in the prelims, outracing Petty to finish with the fastest time. But Petty got even in the final, swimming a 1:01.7, just seven-hundredths of a second faster than Cain’s 1:01.77.
Petty also swam a leg on Worland’s 200-meter freestyle relay team, which won in 1:47.7, and on Worland’s 400-meter frestyle relay team, which took second in 4:06.38.
As a team, Worland captured the top spot with 326 points, followed by Douglas with 308, Rawlins 224 and Buffalo 197.
The 3A Swimming and Diving Championships are set for Feb. 28 and March 1 in Gillette. Petty is going to be a factor, wherever his coach enters him.
According to the WHSAA website, Petty ranks either first or second among all state qualifiers in six different events: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Petty ranks third among qualifiers in a seventh event, the 100 backstroke.