The results sheet from the Moffat County High School swim team's effort at the Jeffco Invitational this weekend in Denver doesn't have too many varsity placers, but coach Ed Stehlin said that doesn't mean too much this year.
"The quality of teams and individuals seemed much higher this year," he said. "We still had a lot of PRs (personal records) but we just didn't have as many swimmers as we would have liked in the finals."
The Bulldogs fell short of pre-meet goals of top 15 (20th) and beating Grand Junction, which grabbed second place.
"I knew Grand Junction was swimming well throughout but I was really surprised to see them finish second," Stehlin said. "Either they swam out of their minds or they've been holding back all year."
The Bulldogs' other Western Slope rival, Glenwood Springs, was "sixth or seventh," according to Stehlin.
The coach predicted that half of the personal bests were from the junior varsity team. Jodi Thompson and Rachel Kane finished third in the JV competition in the 100-yard butterfly and 200 individual medley respectively. The JV squad turned in four other top-10 finishes.
In the varsity meet, a sign of how difficult the meet was came from the inability to qualify the 200 medley relay in a final, a team that already has qualified for state. The two freestyle relays made it into the finals with the 400 team of Katie Stewart, Chloe Gilchrist, Kallie Murphy and Cara Conci finishing in a season best of 4:10.9 and in 11th place. The 200 freestyle team of Miranda Hillewaert, Jenna Waite, Danyel Harman and Conci finished .8 of a second from a state-qualifying time in 16th place.
Gilchrist was the only individual to make a varsity final with a 14th-place finish in the 200 individual medley.
Stehlin said Murphy just missed making the finals in the breast stroke and Waite almost made the cut in the back stroke.
"We're not very far away from getting some qualifying times," Stehlin said. "We just need to implement some sprinting into our workouts and we'll be pretty tough at the end of the season."
The Bulldogs host Delta in the team's final home meet of the season beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.