Nov 12, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorMorgan Gramlich picked the perfect time to swim the fastest 500-yard freestyle time of her career.
The Lander High School junior not only won the Class 3-A 500-yard freestyle swim title but also set a new school record Friday, Nov. 1, in Gillette.
Gramlich recorded a time of 5:27.64. The old record was held by former Lander standout Mei Ratz.
"I wasn't really surprised because I would talk to my coaches before I swam my races," Gramlich said. "They told me halfway through the season that I could break it."
In the prelims, Gramlich was timed in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:33.98.
"Even after the first day of prelims, I knew that I could get it," Gramlich said.
"Cutting five seconds in the 500-yard freestyle is pretty good, so I knew that I could do it. It was super because that record has been up there for 10 years."
Gramlich earned a sportsmanship award from the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
"Morgan has worked extremely hard during the whole year," Lander coach Bruce Gresly said. "I knew that she would have a good swim. I told Morgan that she would have to swim her own race. She is a strong worker for us."
Gresly said younger swimmers try to follow Gramlich. "Everybody looks up to Morgan in what needs to be done and how to do it," Gresly said. "She is one of the great leaders that I have on the team."
The strong field in the 500-yard freestyle helped Gramlich to the top of the podium.
The title came down to a race between Gramlich and Powell's Amanda Tracy.
"I knew that if we stayed by each other I would get the time," Gramlich said.
Tracy finished second in a time of 5:31.36.
"Morgan just concentrated on swimming her own race," Gresly said. "She didn't want to get out in front. She didn't want the girl to get out in front. She just stayed right there with her. That is how you beat people that you are pretty close to. Both girls are really good swimmers."
Lander's Morgan Robins was sixth in 5:59.56.
Gramlich also swam on the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay teams for the Tigers.
The Lander 200-yard relay entry was disqualified. Gramlich felt Lander probably would have placed second without the disqualification.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Gramlich, Katie Forton, Anna Robinson, Aana Haase finished second in the final event of the state meet.
"We knew that they had to swim real strong to win it," Gresly said. "Jackson swam extremely well in that race."
The four were clocked in a time of 3:55.13.
"All of us went under a minute," Gramlich said. "I love the 400-yard freestyle relay. It was really fun."
Jackson won the title in a time of 3:42.94.
Gramlich said Gresly has turned the Lander girls into a title contender in the Class 3-A ranks.
Jackson won the title this year by scoring 351.5 points.
"The competition was excellent this year with all the records that were broken," Gresly said.
Powell came in second at 163 points. Buffalo was third (134), and Lander placed fourth (132.5).
"Coach Gresly knows what he is doing so well. He can make you so much better," Gramlich said. "Lander is really big swimming town. Working with Bruce is awesome."
Under the direction of Gresly, the Lander Tigers boys swim team has won 17 straight Class 3-A titles.
"That is really impressive," Gramlich said. "
Gramlich is not the only swimmer in her family.
Brother Drew Gramlich is preparing to go out for the Lander boys swim this winter.
"Drew does long distance as well," Morgan said.
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