MCHS girls swimming not satisfied with 7 state qualifying times

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Schedule ...

Remaining 2011-12 schedule for the Moffat County High School girls varsity swimming team:

(Date — location — opponent/host)

• Jan. 6 — away — Gunnison High School

• Jan. 7 — away — Delta High School

• Jan. 14 — home — Delta/Aspen

• Jan. 20 — away — Jeffco Invitational

• Jan. 21 — away — Jeffco Invitational

• Jan. 28 — away — Gunnison High School

• Feb. 3 — away — Conference Championships at Colorado Mesa

• Feb. 4 — away — Conference Championships at Colorado Mesa

• Feb. 10 — away — State Championships

• Feb. 11 — away — State Championships

Current qualifiers ...

• Amy Brodie — 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke

• Eryn Leonard — 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle

• Moffat County — 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays

The Moffat County High School girls varsity swimming team has gotten out to a fast start this season, posting seven state-qualifying times in the first four meets.

Yet, head coach Meghan Francone said the team has no plans to slow down.

Junior Eryn Leonard swam qualifying times for the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley and the 50-yard freestyle in the first meet of the season Dec. 2 in Glenwood Springs.

The Bulldogs qualified in four more events during the last meet before the holiday break Dec. 16 in Montrose.

Steamboat Springs senior Amy Brodie qualified in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke while the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays swam qualifying times, as well.

“I am happy with where we are at,” Francone said. “Everyone has done their best and done everything they can do.

“We are bummed the (200-yard) medley relay didn’t qualify yet, but our two relays that did came in seconds under the qualifying time.”

The medley relay was less than a second off the 2 minutes and 5 seconds needed to qualify for state during the Montrose meet.

Francone said having a deep team is going to allow them to get the qualifying mark in due time by switching out the freestyle swimmer and finding the best combination.

The Bulldogs have one of the biggest squads in years, Francone said, and the new swimmers are learning a lot from the more experienced athletes.

“The older swimmers were the young ones before, so it is nice to have the mix this year because the older ones can show the new girls the ropes and what the expectations of the team are,” she said. “The new girls can also see where hard work and dedication can get them if they stick with it.”

Francone said many of the new swimmers had hardly been in the water let alone swam competitively.

The first couple of meets were the most important for their future success, she said.

“In the first two or three meets, the girls can see individual or team success and be proud of that feeling,” Francone said. “It is easy to fizzle and fade out swimming, so each of theses girls needed to find what defined success for them and keep working toward that.”

More than most sports, Francone said it’s important for swimmers to keep getting in the pool, even during a long break.

“We have really only been in the pool about a month, which isn’t that long,” she said. “All the endurance and lung capacity we have built up so far can be lost quickly if they don’t keep at it. Being in the pool is the best thing they can do.”

Each swimmer has her own areas she needs to work on, Francone said, but as a team she hopes to keep improving on wall turns, block starts and streamlining.

The Bulldogs get back in the pool competitively Jan. 6 in Gunnison and host their only home meet of the season Jan. 14.

Francone said the home meet provides a unique opportunity the girls usually don’t see throughout the rest of the season — swimming in front of their fans.

“We travel four hours on a bus, get off, swim, and get back on and come home, and not many people can make that trip,” she said. “Swimming at home, we know the pool, we know how to work the walls and we get to stay home and swim in front of a home crowd.”

The biggest meet before the league and state meets, however, is the Jeffco Invitational on Jan. 20 and 21 on the Front Range.

Francone said the Jeffco Invitational has more swimmers than the state meet and is a great way for her swimmers to see how they stack up against some of the best swimmers in the state.

“We get a chance to see swimmers we won’t see until the state meet at the Jeffco,” she said. “When we go there, we see great competition and the girls can see what they need to do to compete at state.”

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