Western Slope League championships
July 18, 19 and 20 in Grand Junction
Craig Sea Sharks representatives:
Craig's City Park was full of tents, RVs and fans.
Inside the park's pool were more than 200 swimmers from across the Western Slope in search of postseason qualifying times in the final regular season swim meet of the year.
The Craig Sea Sharks swim team hosted its annual ABC meet Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but there was more than swimming going on at the event.
Outside the pool, the radio station KRAI donated the public address system, mothers and fathers worked in the concession stands and previous Sea Sharks were in attendance to catch the weekend festivities.
Inside the pool, swimmers stroked their way toward the finish line, enjoying the sport they love.
"It was a good time," Sea Sharks coach Ashleigh McDonald said. "It's fun having a home meet. I thought it went really smooth."
The Sharks pushed their number of postseason qualifiers from 18 to 22 swimmers, taking advantage of their home turf.
Although only six of the 22 will represent the Sharks this weekend in the Western Slope championships in Grand Junction, McDonald said the satisfaction that comes from knowing, as a swimmer, that you've qualified for the postseason, makes the regular season that much more respectable.
"It's nice to see the kids give it their all out there even though some won't be swimming any more," she said. "With all the hard work they put in this season, it makes it all worthwhile."
Erin Parrott made the most of her final opportunity to advance to the swimming postseason, qualifying for this weekend's championships in the 50-meter breaststroke and the 100-meter breaststroke.
Parrott placed fourth overall in the 100-breast, finishing the four laps required in 1 minute, 51.09 seconds besting her previous career high of 1:56.98.
Her time of 49.78 in the 50-breast earned her eighth place in the girls 11- to 12-year-old age group.
"Erin had a really good weekend," McDonald said. "She cut a lot of time off on her breaststroke. She cut it by five seconds."
Katelyn Peroulis used the Sharks' home meet as a platform to advance to the WSC, as well.
Peroulis recorded a time of 1:43.65 in the 100-meter backstroke, placing third overall, reserving a seat on the team trip headed to Grand Junction on Thursday.
Ashley Griffiths fed off the home waters of the Craig City Park pool, qualifying for the postseason in the 50-back, 100-breast and the 50-breast.
The 11-year old placed third in the 100-breast, finishing in 1:48.53, seventh in the 50-breast in 49.68 and third in the 50-back with a time of 44.50.
"Having those new qualifiers was really good to see," McDonald said. "We had a ton of kids that cut their times this weekend."
The regular season is now over, and McDonald said her first year at the helm was cut far too short.
"I'm bummed it's over," she said. "We had a lot of success this year. If the season were longer, I know we would have had even more success."
John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org