There were two signs of the season nearing the end at the Moffat County girls swim team's practice Tuesday -- hard work and play time.
The hard work came at the beginning of the practice when coach Jen Zimmerman had the girls doing repeats that will help them finish a race strong. After the hard work, the team split up and played water polo.
"I'll put something in that is fun when they've worked hard late in the season," Zimmerman said. "It helps keep them motivated to finish the season strong."
The Aquadogs have less than two weeks of practice and two remaining meets to improve their times. Four Bulldogs already are headed to the state meet on Feb. 17 and 18 in Denver. There is room for improvement that would add to the reservations for state.
"We've been working hard to cut some more times," Zimmerman said. "There are also a couple of girls trying to fill in at the relay positions where we need it."
Sophomore Meghan Innes and senior Alyssa Pierson are working to swim times close to what senior Katie Gainor swam before she left after graduating at semester.
"Those girls have really stepped up for us," Zimmerman said.
Moffat was unable to earn any new qualifications Friday in Grand Junction, but there were some swimmers getting closer.
In the 500-meter freestyle, junior Jessica Krogman cut 24 seconds off her previous best for a sixth-place finish. Sophomore Jessica Knez swam 15 seconds better than she ever had in the event for eighth place.
First-place Bulldogs were sophomore twin sisters Kelsey and Caitlin Conci. Kelsey won the 50 and 100 freestyle races. Caitlin won the 100 backstroke.
Overall, the Bulldogs finished third in the three-team meet. Class 5A schools Grand Junction (first) and Fruita Monument (second) were the other teams.
Other scoring finishers for the Bulldogs were: 200 medley relay (C. Conci, Ashleigh McDonald, Vanessa Murray, Innes) third; 50 freestyle, Innes seventh, McDonald eighth, Pierson ninth; 100 freestyle, Pierson fifth, Katherine Dodd ninth; 200 freestyle relay (Kelsey and Caitlin Conci, Murray, Innes) third; 100 breaststroke, McDonald second, Katie Knez fourth, Dodd ninth; 400 freestyle relay (Caitlin and Kelsey Conci, Pierson, Murray) third, (J. Knez, Tiffney Woodbury, Ashley Pacot, Andria Dremel) seventh.
Woodbury also returned to the diving competition after some time off and finished fifth.
"I think we still have some qualifications for this team," Zimmerman said. "For the girls who might be a bit off, they're still going to keep getting better, too."