Conci twins preparing for final collegiate swim seasons

Quotable

“I want to end my swimming career on a good note. I want to go into the conference meet and have a lot of fun and enjoy all my races as well as posting good times.”

Caitlin Conci, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, on entering her senior year as a swimmer for the University of North Dakota

It seems like yesterday Caitlin and Kelsey Conci were swimming for Moffat County High School.

The twin sisters eclipsed numerous school records and competed in multiple state swimming meets. Kelsey capped her senior year with a gold medal.

Now, the 2008 MCHS graduates are heading into their senior year of college — Caitlin at the University of North Dakota and Kelsey at the University of Wyoming.

Both athletes have competed for their respective schools and both concede they have things left to accomplish.

For Caitlin, that means leaving her mark on the UND record book.

“In my final year, I really have more time goals than meet goals,” she said. “I really want to beat my personal best time in the 100-yard butterfly of 55 seconds.”

The school record sits at 55.35 seconds, set in 2009.

Caitlin said the 2010-11 season wasn’t her best, but overall she fared well.

The Fighting Sioux swimmer competed in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.

Unfortunately, the season didn’t end the way she hoped, Caitlin said.

“At the Conference USA meet in February, I think I was just tired so I didn’t compete as well as I wanted to,” she said. “I still improved during the course of the season, but the conference meet wasn’t my best.”

However, the unwanted ending to her junior season has given Caitlin another goal for her senior year.

“I want to end my swimming career on a good note,” she said. “I want to go into the conference meet and have a lot of fun and enjoy all my races, as well as posting good times.”

The Fighting Sioux begin practice Aug. 29, with the first meet scheduled for the first week of October, but Caitlin said she continued to prepare during the spring and summer.

In April, she attended a Grand Prix event at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

At the meet, she got to see, among others, Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps compete.

“During the offseason we don’t have required practices or set hours, but once practice officially starts we will be practicing 20 hours a week,” she said. “I think I’ll be ready to go for the first meet once we start practice.”

Kelsey’s season was extended a little longer.

During the Mountain West Conference meet Feb. 23 to 26 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Kelsey qualified for the NCAA Swimming Championships on March 17 to 19 in Austin, Texas.

At the meet, Kelsey took 10th place in the 100-yard backstroke and was named an All-American.

Her time — 52.36 seconds — was the best of her career.

“The competition level was really elite,” Kelsey said. “The best college swimmers were there, and it was fun to compete against them.”

During the remainder of the spring and summer, Kelsey also competed in meets in California and Oregon as well as the Senior Nationals Meet on Aug. 2 to 6 at Stanford University, taking seventh in the 100-meter backstroke.

Like her sister, Kelsey begins official practice Aug. 29 and has her first competition the first week of October.

“I am really excited for competition to begin again,” she said. “Our conference has changed a little so we will have some different competition, and it should make it more exciting.”

Kelsey said she would like to finish even higher at the NCAA Championships next year, but she also has her eyes set on a bigger goal.

In June 2012, Kelsey will swim the 100-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle in the Olympic Trials.

“I want to come into the next season fit and in really good shape,” she said. “If I can get my times better, I can move my ranking up in the Olympic Trials.”

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