Moffat County High School swimmers Jessica Prather, left, and Riley Johnston work to sharpen their form in the water with fingertip drills during a practice session in the Moffat County High School swimming pool. The girls, both sophomores, competed in the weekend’s Montrose Invitational, where the girls swim team placed eighth. Sophomore diver Larissa Grammer qualified for the state championships in the meet, as did Steamboat Springs freshman Amy Brodie in the 100-yard butterfly

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Moffat County High School swimmers Jessica Prather, left, and Riley Johnston work to sharpen their form in the water with fingertip drills during a practice session in the Moffat County High School swimming pool. The girls, both sophomores, competed in the weekend’s Montrose Invitational, where the girls swim team placed eighth. Sophomore diver Larissa Grammer qualified for the state championships in the meet, as did Steamboat Springs freshman Amy Brodie in the 100-yard butterfly

Making a splash

MCS girls swim team prepares to go the distance for greatness

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Meghan Francone

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Anita Reynolds

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Moffat County swimmer Mary Penner comes to the edge of the MCHS pool to take a breather in between practice laps. Penner’s best time last season was 28.19 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle.

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Moffat County diver Larissa Grammer vaults off the board in a reverse one-and-a-half. Grammer is the only diver on the girls swimming team this season.

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The Moffat County High School girls swimming team is, back row, from left, coach Megan Francone, Hannah Kirk, Danielle Knez, Marlee Chacon, Amy Brodie, Luci Franklin and manager Matt Hulstine. In the front row, from left, are Tiarra Schroeder, Jessica Prather, Mary Penner, Eryn Leonard, Larissa Grammer and Riley Johnston. Not pictured: Regina Acosta, Krysta McClellan and coach Anita Reynolds.

Moffat County High School girls swimming team 2010-11 schedule:

Date Meet

Dec. 11 League Relays at Mesa State

Dec. 18 Moffat County Invitational

Jan. 7 Moffat County Invitational

Jan. 8 Delta Invitational

Jan. 14 Jeffco Invitational

Jan. 15 Jeffco Invitational

Jan. 22 Grand Junction Invitational

Jan. 28 Aspen Invitational

Jan. 29 Delta Invitational

Feb. 4 League Championships at Mesa State

Feb. 5 League Championships at Mesa State

Feb. 11 State Championships at Mesa State

Feb. 12 State Championships at Mesa State

Returning swimmers’ individual 2009-10 statistics:

Swimmer Top time Event Top placing

Marlee Chacon 1:11.86 100-meter freestyle 5th

Luci Franklin 1:03.91 100-meter freestyle 1st

Hannah Kirk 1:14.64 100-meter butterfly 3rd

Riley Johnston 0:45.47 50-meter freestyle 8th

Eryn Leonard 1:04.14 100-meter butterfly 1st

Mary Penner 0:28.19 50-meter freestyle 3rd

Jessica Prather 0:37.75 50-meter freestyle 10th

• Returning diver’s 2009-10 statistics

Diver Top Score Top placing

Larissa Grammer 265.4 2nd

Endurance.

For Moffat County High School girls swimming coach Meghan Francone, the word has special significance because it’s something she stresses to her team every day.

“My girls love me for that,” she said jokingly.

But, for many members of the team, the message sank in before the season began. As a returning swimmer, sophomore Hannah Kirk has already seen how a season’s worth of work can pay off under Francone’s coaching, having been part of the 200-meter relay team that narrowly missed going to state last season.

But, that just means working harder this time around.

“She pushes us really hard, but in the end it all works out,” Kirk said.

The race is on for members of the swim team, as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Francone said each member of the team, from the freshmen to the seniors, have acclimated to the pool nicely after an adjustment period.

“The first two weeks of practice have been kind of rough,” Francone said. “They work hard and they tell me I’ve worked them hard, but I don’t see a single slacker in the water. They do what’s being asked of them and they do it well.”

Francone added that returning veterans of the water like Kirk, senior Mary Penner and sophomore Eryn Leonard are joined by new faces, like Steamboat Springs freshman Amy Brodie, who may have the upperclassmen looking over their shoulders.

In the team’s first meet of the season, the Montrose Invitational, Brodie posted times of 27.19 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle, one minute and five seconds in the 100-meter butterfly, and two minutes and 33.18 seconds in the 200-meter individual medley.

Francone said that having a wide array of talent on the team is important because it allows girls who are having a stronger week to pick up the slack if a teammate is struggling.

“The great thing about swimming is that it changes week to week,” she said. “It’s one of those things where if you’re in the water, you’re working and improving. You can lose your entire base faster than you could in other sports.”

As a student at Sterling High School, Francone competed at state 12 times in swimming, cross-country and track.

She said her aim is not in demanding that her team achieve the same accomplishment, but rather they work together.

“I hear a lot of other coaches complain about their teams, and I can’t complain,” she said. “My girls are very coherent, and they work things out among themselves. When push comes to shove, we’re behind each other and we support each other.”

The season opener in Montrose gave the girls a rough start, with the team placing eighth overall out of nine teams.

Much of the work in the water depends on each individual swimmer recognizing what they need to improve, Kirk said.

“I’m definitely working on getting my breaststroke quicker and my turns faster,” she said. “I also need to work on keeping my arms lower for (butter)fly and not going as deep on my dives.”

Kirk said the team works hard at not being critical of each other.

“We don’t really critique other people. What we’ll do is some synchronized swimming, so that we have to keep up with each other,” she said.

The approach works at both ends of the pool. The team’s single diver, sophomore Larissa Grammer, has a different practice regimen but receives the same amount of attention from her teammates.

“I do what I do and they do what they do, but we still really connect,” she said. “Sometimes I know I’m somewhat isolated, but we still manage to get past that. Being on the board, you don’t always connect like they can in the water, talking. But, I think if we didn’t have any closeness, we’d have some problems.”

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