Chris Kling competes in the butterfly June 28 in Glenwood Springs. Kling, a member of the Craig Sea Sharks, helped bolster the team's number of postseason qualifiers to 18 swimmers.

Susan Turner/Courtesy

Chris Kling competes in the butterfly June 28 in Glenwood Springs. Kling, a member of the Craig Sea Sharks, helped bolster the team's number of postseason qualifiers to 18 swimmers.

Shark sightings increasing

Craig Sea Sharks now boast 18 postseason qualifiers

Every day between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m., the Sea Sharks are in the water.

Individual workouts, team workouts, rotating, not wiggling their hips and keeping their heads straight are just a few of the "little things" coach Ashleigh McDonald said she works on with the team.

The little things are paying off.

The Craig Sea Sharks swim team competed Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Dolphin Invite in Grand Junction. The team came away with a few more postseason qualifiers.

The Sea Sharks now have 18 swimmers planning an end-of-the-season trip.

"We had another good weekend," McDonald said. "We've had tremendous improvement so far this year, and they keep cutting their times."

The Dolphin Invite was different than the Sea Sharks' past meets in two ways.

First, the Lincoln Park Moyer Pool is 50 meters long, compared to the usual 25 meters.

Second, the event takes place outdoors, while most swimming competitions are held indoors.

Both of the differences, according to McDonald, played into the Sea Sharks' strengths.

"Our home meet (July 11 to 13) is outdoors," she said, "and the Western Slope League finals (July 18 to 20) are at the same pool (in Grand Junction). It helps because our team swims outdoors all the time, and the team doesn't have to adjust to the pool (in the WSL finals) because most of them have swam in it before."

McDonald added that sometimes swimming outdoors is detrimental because the heat "drains their energy."

Throughout the weekend, the Sea Sharks didn't show any signs of fatigue.

Ten Sharks made the trip to Grand Junction, and McDonald said all 10 team members made an impact.

Colter Tegtman has qualified for the Junior Olympics in each of his six events: the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter and 100-meter backstroke, 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke and the 50-meter butterfly.

"He's doing really well in his age group," McDonald said. "Each week, it seems like he keeps getting faster."

McDonald also pointed to the performances of Chris Kling, Matt Hulstine and Katherine Dodd.

Dodd has pre-qualified for the WSL championships, but this weekend the Moffat County High School senior added three Summer Club championship-qualifying times to her resume.

Dodd qualified in the 200-free, 400-free and 200-breast.

"She is always really quiet in practice," McDonald said. "I think it benefits her because she is more focused on the swimming while everyone else is chatting. She's more motivated to focus on the workouts."

Hulstine displayed his focus throughout the weekend.

The Craig Middle School eighth-grader qualified for the Summer Club championships in the 100-breast, 200-breast, 200-fly, 100-back, 100-free and the 200-meter individual medley.

"Matt did really well," McDonald said. "He is one of the swimmers that has benefited from practice and improved a lot since the season began. He's starting to get his turns down (in the butterfly), and he's keeping his legs straight. He's still getting better."

Kling qualified for the WSL and Summer Camp championships in the 50-fly, 50-back and the 100-free.

"He did pretty well, too," McDonald said about Kling. "It's always good to see kids improve throughout the summer. He's a good example of that."

The Sea Sharks have some time off before their next meet, a home contest July 11 to 13 at Craig City Park Pool.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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