Four Bulldog swimmers qualify for state competition

Bulldog swimmers are no longer dreaming about what the water will be like at the Edora Pool in Fort Collins, they'll know first hand. After a meet Saturday in Grand Junction, four boys qualified for state in their first event.

The 200-meter freestyle relay team composed of Danny Arnold, Jeff Olree, Kyle Ietel, and Parker Moore, finished in 1:40.34 at the Grand Junction Relays, held at Orchard Mesa High School. The time is nearly two seconds less than the 1:42 it takes to qualify. The boys came in second place in the race itself.

"It's too bad we didn't go ahead and win the race. We just ran out of pool at the end, and Parker was really smoking at the anchor," Coach Jim Vorhies said. "The important thing is that we qualified for state, we were close last year, but never did make it."

Along with the 200 freestyle team, the 200 medley relay team, which has the same roster as the freestyle relay, is only five-tenths of a second from state qualification.

Individually, the Bulldogs look to send four swimmers to Fort Collins, Moore in the 50 freestyle, Danny Butler in the 100 freestyle, and Kyle Ietel and Jeff Olree in the 100 breaststroke. All swimmers have about a second to drop on their swims to make state.

Moffat County pulled into the fifth-place position at Grand Junction, with Durango taking first. The meet drew all seven Western Slope Conference (WSC) teams.

The night before the Grand Junction meet, Moffat County competed against District 51 in Fruita, a meet where the divers took the spotlight.

Jerry Davis, John Shipley, and Matt Ruola placed first, second and third in diving Friday night, and Davis got closer to becoming the first of the squad to qualify for state.

It takes 180 points to qualify in diving. Davis scored 150 Friday and is on track to making it to Fort Collins. Along with points earned, divers have a certain number of mandatory dives they have to complete before they are eligible.

"It's been really exciting to see that the diving team is doing so well. They still have a few small kinks that need to be worked on to get them all the way on track," Vorhies said.

The boys have been given most of the week off to enjoy what the coach called a well-deserved rest after last week's competitions. They will resume practice Friday to prepare for the first home meet on March 31.

The home meet will be the first chance many swimmers on the cusp of qualification will have to make it to state, and Vorhies is happy to be in home water.

"The home water should really help to relax a lot of the guys in their races and hopefully give them that little extra edge," he said. "Overall I am just happy with how we've been preforming out there. Regardless of what pool it is, we are so far ahead of schedule as far as qualification is concerned it's almost frightening."

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