The bubble keeps getting smaller for the Moffat County High School swim team and they have one more chance to make it break.
The Bulldogs won all but one event at a triangular meet with Central/Palisade and Cortez this weekend, outscoring the other teams, 169 to 75 and 74 respectively. While there were still no state qualifying times, the Bulldogs inched closer to bursting the state-qualifying bubble.
"We swam fast, just not fast enough," said MCHS coach Ed Stehlin. "Some of the events are too close to call."
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Jenna Waite, Miranda Hillewaert, Danyel Harman and Cara Conci was as close as it could get without qualifying, with a time 1:52.1, one tenth of a second off.
In the 400 freestyle relay, two MCHS teams challenged each other down to the last stroke and finished three tenths of a second apart with times of 4:13.1 and 4:13.4. Stehlin said he wouldn't be surprised if he had eight girls qualify for state in the event.
"The unfortunate thing is that we can only take one relay team," he said. "So that won't make things easy for me to pick."
The first-place 400 freestyle team was Conci, Kallie Murphy, Chloe Gilchrist and Katie Stewart. The team making a move late in the season is Hillewaert, Strahan, Nicole Vorhies and Sari Maneotis.
Maneotis has been coming on strong as of late. The sophomore impressed her coach even more over the weekend.
"Sari keeps dropping times like crazy," Stehlin said. "She shaved time off of her (individual medley) and swam well with the 100 fly."
Other winners in the meet were 200 medley relay (Waite, Murphy, Gilchrist, Hillewaert) Strahan, 200 freestyle, Gilchrist, 200 individual medley, Hillewaert, 50 freestyle, Amanda Vaughn, diving, Maneotis, 100 butterfly, Conci, 100 butterfly, Vorhies, 500 freestyle, and Waite, 100 backstroke.
Overall, the team had 26 personal bests and they expect many more this upcoming weekend ast the Western Slope Championships -- a meet Stehlin said the team has decided to fully taper for.
"Usually we don't fully taper until state," he said. "But with so many swimmers close but not in, they decided to taper for districts instead."
In the Western Slope, there appears to be three classifications of teams, which are the top two, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, the middle three, Moffat County, Montrose and Durango, and the rest of the teams. Stehlin said his team wants to establish itself among the top three.
"We've never really gone into districts with everybody tapered and the ecvents stacked," he said. "So the girls are excited to see what kind of statement they can make."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.