Pokes embracing workmanlike attitude ahead of season
LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming men’s swimming & diving team wants to realign itself with past beliefs. Not too long ago, the Cowboys took a tremendous amount of pride knowing they were the hardest working team in the Western Athletic Conference.
That’s not to say UW hasn’t put in the work necessary to remain successful in the pool. The Cowboys just want to make a concerted effort to ensure they’re doing everything they can each and every day to finish at the top of the conference.
In an effort to do so, Wyoming has adopted a saying.
“Saddle up or shut up,” UW head coach Dave Denniston said. “It’s a bit of a Wyoming trademark this year. The seniors and leaders all said they want to get back to (being the hardest-working team). They want to know leaving practice that they worked harder than anyone else. The team has done that so far.”
The Cowboys are fresh off a 2020-21 season that saw them finish third at the WAC championships. A number of Wyoming swimmers boasted a top-eight finish at that meet, the vast majority of which return for the 2021-22 season.
Seniors Ryan Netzel, Thomas Diaz, Miller Browne and Brendan Byrnes lead that group of returnees. The quartet is a microcosm of what the men’s and women’s teams at Wyoming are all about.
The grouping is comprised of an IMer, a backstroker, a freestyler and a diver. It’s a well-rounded four and that diversity proliferates throughout the entire roster.
“Swimming and diving are truly valued at our program, which isn’t the case around the rest of the country,” Denniston said. “We are truly a diving and swimming program.”
Juniors Andrew Rodriguez and Payton Lee also finished in the top eight at the WAC championships. Sophomores Luke Walker, Harry Tjaden, Juan Gonzalez, John Wargin, and Max DeYoung round out the group, adding depth to a roster that hopes to build off its top-three finish.
Wyoming begins its 2021-22 season Friday with the annual Brown and Gold meet at 4 p.m. at Laramie High School. That’s followed by the DU Relays on Oct. 2.
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