Swimmers head into home meet with only half a team

Saturday will present one of the two chances Jim Vorhies and his Bulldog swimmers have to compete in their home pool a chance that only half the team will take advantage of.

The other half of the swim team is involved in state band competition or class field trips, a stumbling block that has hit many spring sports.

Many of his varsity swimmers will be missing, but Vorhies sees the open positions in many of the races an excellent opportunity for some of the younger swimmers to get more experience in competition.

"We'll mainly be racing for times this weekend, get the guys out in the pool and just race," he said. "It's a qualifying meet, but it's still really early in the season to be qualifying that many."

One of the swimmers who hopes to use the home waters to his advantage is freshman Kyle Eitel. Eitel doesn't feel this weekend's tournament would be the meet he would qualify in, but he said that making state isn't too far away.

"I feel like I'm swimming up to state standard, and it will only be a matter of time before I qualify," he said.

The advantages Eitel feels the home meet provides area swimmers is a good working knowledge of the pool and being able to swim in front of a friendly crowd.

Eitel will compete against teammate Jeff Olree in 100-meter breaststroke and the 100 freestyle.

The Bulldogs will field three relay teams for the meet, a 200 freestyle, a 200 medley and a 400 freestyle team, though some of the teams may not carry their original roster. The team will also hold a diving competition at the tournament.

The home meet will include four other teams, Durango, Cortez, Glenwood Springs and Delta. Most of the competition should come from Durango, though the Glenwood Demons have some potential state qualifiers, Vorhies said.

Like many other Moffat County coaches, this first week after spring break has caused Vorhies concern about the condition of his athletes most were only able to find pool time once last week, and many other didn't have any at all.

To overcome this adversity, the team has worked hard this week, entering into threshold and endurance training, a form of swimming meant to push the pain threshold to increase the swimmer's ability to deal with it.

Along with the intense physical training, the Bulldogs have been working on the technical aspects of their races, such as starts and turns.

"One of our goals this season was to go into every meet in as good of condition as we possibly could. So far we've done a pretty good job of that. This week will be a real test for the boys, since they're coming off break, and we will probably have the smallest team out there," Vorhies said.

Overall, the coach likes what he sees for this weekend's competition, the fact that he's not swimming full strength has not daunted him or his team, and both see it as an opportunity to better the program.

"In many respects this will be one of the hardest meets that some of the boys will swim this year. There will be a lot of fast swimmers here, but that also includes the Moffat County swimmers," Vorhies said.

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