After weeks of trying to qualify for state, the Moffat County High School 200-yard medley relay team finally achieved its goal.
With the 4A state qualifying time set at 2:04.5, the team swam 2:04.49 at the Delta Invitational on Saturday.
The medley team is the last of three MCHS relays to qualify for the 4A state meet Feb. 11 and 12.
Senior Mary Penner said she was glad it happened.
“We barely, barely qualified, but we did it,” she said. “It feels great and it is exciting because I have never been to the state meet.”
Sophomore Eryn Leonard and Steamboat Springs juniors Amy Brodie and Luci Franklin round out the relay team with Penner. The same four swimmers are on the 200- and 400-freestyle relays as well.
Before the race, Penner said she had a talk with Brodie and they decided the Delta Invitational was their opportunity.
“Coming in, I knew my time was a little slower, but in Delta I broke out for one of my best times,” she said. “Amy (Brodie) and I said beforehand that we had to do it.”
Head coach Meghan Francone said she was proud of the swimmers’ effort.
“We finally got there,” she said of the qualifying time. “I am proud because I know they worked so hard to get to this point.
“I won’t say they deserved it, because in swimming you earn what you get, and they definitely earned it.”
The qualifying time didn’t come without some roadblocks, however.
When the Bulldogs arrived in Delta, the school’s starting equipment wasn’t working, so all the races were started with a whistle.
As the 200-medley relay was getting ready to finish, one of the two timers didn’t stop the watch on time. The other had the Bulldogs’ time just over the time needed to qualify.
Luckily, Francone said, her and fellow coach Anita Reynolds clocked the race as well. Both Francone and Reynolds had their team under the qualifying time.
Because of the malfunction in starting equipment, all the times were averaged, resulting in the Bulldogs coming in just under the 2:04.5 they needed.
“It was a nightmare, but it worked out in our favor,” Francone said. “Anita (Reynolds) really saved us by getting the averages right.”
With qualifiers in 11 of the 12 events, Francone said the two weeks before state will be spent on fine-tuning the girls’ strokes.
“We don’t expect the girls to drop a lot of time because they are at the top of their game right now,” she said. “Heading into the last couple weeks, it is more mental than physical.”
The Bulldogs will compete in the Western Slope League meet at 4 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Mesa State College in the last meet before state.