Bulldog swimmers still finding ways to qualify for state, start to taper for finale

The Moffat County High School swim team's practice Monday looked like organized chaos.

There were no lane dividers and the team was talking and making up strokes as it went through its workout -- the signs of taper time.

"Last week was a tough one in the pool," said coach Jim Vorhies. "They were still tired today and we are starting to back it down as you can tell from their demeanor."

Despite being tired at the meet in Grand Junction Friday, the Bulldogs continue to meet Vorhies' high expectations. Moffat County finished fourth out of five teams but the team left early and missed the final swim, which could have moved it into second place.

John Shipley added another state-qualifying performance to his resume in the 100-yard butterfly and finished third in the event. Shipley also earned an ovation from the crowd during the diving competition when he did a two-and-a-half combination that Vorhies predicted would have been a 10 if Shipley hadn't crossed his feet as he went in the water.

"The whole place was clapping like crazy," Vorhies said. "Even the announcer complemented the dive."

Chris Compton set a school record in the 100 backstroke and his teammates Kellan Moore and Nick Ruckman finished right behind him in second and third respectively.

"The backstroke is one of our deeper events going into the Western Slope championships," Vorhies said. "With the taper, we might be able to get Kellan and Nick qualified in it as well."

Moore also is flirting with qualifying in the 50 freestyle. On Friday, he swam a 24.75, .75 from qualifying. He finished second in the event and teammates Compton, John Ilko and Andy Key added team points with fourth-, sixth- and seventh-place finishes.

Kyle Eitel had a chance to earn an individual spot at the state meet in the 100 breast stroke, as five swimmers in his race swam qualifying times, but the junior was sixth and 1.5 seconds off.

"We've got two or three guys so close to getting in," Vorhies said. "I think with a good regional, they'll do well."

While they finished a little back in the pack, Vorhies noted the performances of Zach Vorhies and Robert McClellan in the 500 freestyle. Zach Vorhies finished seventh and took 35 seconds off of his previous best while McClellan took eighth and sliced 10 seconds off of his fastest time.

In all, the Bulldogs swam 16 personal bests after a long week in practice. Vorhies said he planned to reduce the team's workload from 5,500 meters a day to 4,000.

"It's enough to keep them working," he said.

"Next week is when we'll really back it down."

As the season works toward the pinnacle, Vorhies said he is anxious to see what his best team to this point in the year is capable of doing.

"I don't think they have a concept of what they can do," he said. "I think these guys are capable of setting some records that will stand

for a while."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.