Building confidence

Jeffco meet performances increase swim team morale

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The Moffat County girls swim team likes the annual trip to Arvada for the Jeffco swim meet.

It provides the team a chance for a road trip and an overnight stay in Denver. It provides the chance to compete against 21 teams, when it has been swimming against one or two every meet. The pool is fast, and maybe the most important factor is that it helps boost confidence.

"It's the closest thing to state we'll see in the regular season," sophomore Kelsey Conci said. "There's more excitement, and if you do well, it helps your confidence."

Conci was one of those who did well.

She finished fifth out of 67 swimmers in the 50-meter freestyle. She was a split second from breaking into the 25-second range for the first time this season.

The sophomore helped the 400-freestyle team, which included sophomore Caitlin Conci, junior Vanessa Murray and senior Katie Gainor, finish 10th and qualify for the state meet.

Kelsey's busy day of finals also included a state-qualifying time in her sixth-place, 100-freestyle swim and a 10th-place finish in the 200-freestyle relay with Gainor, Caitlin Conci and Alyssa Pierson.

"I set a goal of getting into the finals of all four events," Kelsey said. "I didn't expect to qualify for the 100, but it was a little extra bonus."

The Bulldogs have now reached all the qualifications they had last year. Gainor and senior Ashleigh McDonald are knocking on the door for state times in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, respectively.

"I guess I have to get mad," McDonald said. "At least I improved my time in my leg of the medley relay."

McDonald and the rest of the team still are a month away from peaking.

"I was really pleased with the girls this weekend," coach Jen Zimmerman said. "At least half of them cut time."

The Bulldogs finished the meet 12th out of 21 teams.

Other top-10 finishes included Katie Knez's sixth-place swim in the JV meet's 100 breaststroke and Caitlin Conci's sixth-place finish in the 100 backstroke.

"Finishing in the finals against 5A swimmers and other good 4A swimmers is a confidence builder," Kelsey Conci said. "It helped me to see that my goal should be to get in the finals at state."

As a freshman, Kelsey finished 12th in the 50 freestyle at state.

On Friday, the Bulldogs will host their final home meet of the season. The meet is a tribute to the seniors and their parents and will start at 4 p.m.

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