Swimmers continue record-breaking pace

Jim Vorhies has a problem that he doesn't mind solving.

When it comes time for the state swim meet, the Moffat County High School boys swim coach will have to narrow down what senior John Shipley will compete in from at least six qualified events to only four.

"It's the question of where he'll be a benefit to the team the most," Vorhies said. "He can only go in three individual events and one relay and he's still got a chance to go qualify in one more this upcoming weekend."

Shipley swam for the first time in the 100-yard freestyle in Montrose Friday and qualified for state by nearly a second. He finished second in the 100 freestyle, won the diving competition and swam on the first-place medley relay and second place 200 freestyle relay.

The medley team of Chris Compton, Kyle Eitel, Shipley and Kellan Moore broke 1:50 for the first time of the season, positioning itself as a top-eight team in the state.

"The thing about the medley is that I changed it up and they still swam the fastest of the year," Vorhies said. "That might not even be the fastest team I can put out there."

In the team standings at Montrose, the Bulldogs finished second behind the host team, which is the perennial powerhouse in Class 4A swimming on the Western Slope.

The team now has swimmers qualified in seven of 12 events for the state meet. Vorhies said he believed that was the most qualifications in a single season and there are still two meets remaining.

Other qualifying possibilities are from Shipley, who is going to swim in the 100 butterfly to see if he can qualify for a seventh event, Nick Ruckman, who is swimming right at the qualifying time in the butterfly as well, and Kellan Moore, who is a second off of qualifying in the 100 backstroke. With Shipley and Jerry Davis already going to state in diving, the Bulldogs hope to see Jared Jenkins make it a clean sweep to get all three divers to the season finale.

Qualifying aside, the Bulldogs had 26 personal best swims in Montrose. The team also had a top-five finisher in every event of the five-team meet.

Top-five finishers were: John Ilko, 4th, 200 freestyle; Ruckman, 4th, 200 individual medley; Compton, 5th, 200 individual medley; Moore, 3rd, 50 freestyle; Davis, 2nd, diving; Jenkins, 4th, diving; Ruckman, 3rd, 100 butterfly; Eitel, 5th, butterfly; Robert McClellan, 5th, 500 freestyle; Compton, 2nd, 100 backstroke; Moore, 4th, backstroke; Eitel, 3rd, breaststroke; Zach Vorhies, 4th, breaststroke. In the relays the aforementioned medley team won, the 200 freestyle relay of Shipley, Moore, Andy Key and Ruckman finished in second and the 400 freestyle team of Key, Compton, Ruckman and Ilko finished second as well.

This week is the heaviest in training for the Bulldogs as they start to taper after this weekend's meet in Grand Junction.

Vorhies hopes that with the taper a team that already has qualified a record amount of athletes for the state meet can keep adding to those numbers.

"We have a competitive team that is going to make the Western Slope championships very close," he said. "We will get to see where we are

at then."

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