Season of Improvement

Senior Tony Back competes in a meet earlier this season, Back led the Douglas swimming team to a ninth-place finish at the state tournament Thursday and Friday last week.

Senior team captain Tony Back saved his best swimming of his high school career for his last meet ever.

Back was the leading swimmer for an improved Douglas Bearcats boys swimming team that took ninth place overall at the Wyoming 3A Boys State Swim Meet.

Back, who plans on studying business at the University of Northern Colorado after high school, has swam for the team all four years. He was the leading swimmer on the team all year, and finished the state swim meet with top-12 finishes in all four events he competed in

“My goal was to make it into the top-six in my individual events, and to do that in swimming is pretty difficult,” Back said. “There are a lot of really fast boys in swimming and it is very competitive. To know I could keep up with boys who have all-american times was honestly a big accomplishment for me.”

Back competed in the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard backstroke, coming in sixth and fifth place respectively. He swam the individual medley in 2:21.17, improving his entry time by 1.52 seconds, and a 1:01.08 in the back stroke, also a personal best for the season.

“It was a goal i’ve had my eye on since freshman year,” Back said. “For myself it was just about staying determined and forcing myself to do it.I made sure I conditioned in the off-season and I worked hard everyday to beat the clock and worked on technique every time I got in the pool.”

He also led the team to ninth-place finishes in the 200 yard medley relay and the 400 yard free relay.

“It was a really successful trip,” head coach Baxter Heinert said. “Last year we came in tenth and this year we moved up a spot to ninth, but only missed eighth place to Lyman by one point. That was really exciting for the boys. Back, Michael Gifford and Jeffrey Cuevas were really good for us and we were able to make top-12 with our relays.”

Gifford had a strong showing in the 500 yard freestyle, shaving more than four seconds off of his entry time and placing eighth overall.

Cuevas placed tenth in both the 200 yard individual medley and 100 yard fly events, while also taking part in both team relays.

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