Colter Tegtman knew he needed a strong race Saturday in the Western Slope League swimming meet.
In his last chance to qualify for the 4A state swimming meet, Tegtman, a Moffat County High School freshman, came into Mesa State College seeded with a time of about 25 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle.
The state qualifying time sat at 23.9 seconds.
Earlier in the day, Tegtman raced as part of the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay and swam both 50-yard freestyles under the qualifying time.
However, the time had to be reached in the individual race.
“I was just having a really good weekend and my shoulder was starting to feel better, so I knew I could do it,” Tegtman said.
Tegtman tied for fourth in the 50-yard freestyle finals and officially clocked in at 23.9 seconds, leaving no room for mistakes in qualifying for the state meet.
“I was totally happy especially after I swam a qualifying time two times before that,” Tegtman said Monday. “I’ve been swimming for five years now and it feels good to qualify for the state meet as a freshman.”
The MCHS boys varsity swimming team finished last, but coach Anita Reynolds said the main focus of the meet was to have performances like Tegtman had.
“I know Colter really wanted to make it to state,” Reynolds said. “As a team, we started to taper down this past week and Colter was able to get where he needed to be.”
Earlier in the season, an old shoulder injury flared up on Tegtman. He threw it out a couple of years ago while swimming the butterfly stroke, he said.
But, to make sure he gave himself the best opportunity, Tegtman said he started physical therapy to help the injury heal.
“I never really worried about it until I got to high school,” he said. “It is not all the way fixed, but it continues to feel much better.”
Tegtman said the physical therapy and his team support pushed him to keep getting better, but it was another teammate — sophomore Matt Hulstine — who kept him pushing to qualify for the state meet.
“It is a big thing to qualify for the state meet as a freshman and Matt did it last year,” he said. “Coming into this year, I had something to shoot for and I was able to accomplish that.”
Hulstine will join Tegtman at the state meet Friday and Saturday back at Mesa State College in Grand Junction as the only two individual MCHS swimmers competing.
Hulstine will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly.
At the WSL meet, the sophomore recorded the best time in the 100-yard breaststroke prelims and was ranked first heading into the finals.
In the next lane over during the finals was Hulstine’s main competition on the Western Slope, Montrose’s Michael Barnosky.
Hulstine won the event in 1 minute, .53 seconds with Barnosky coming in at 1 minute, .57 seconds.
“Matt was able to beat Barnosky in the last pull to touch the wall,” Reynolds said. “They are friends outside the water, but they compete during the season and in the summer. Matt has the drive to win and was able to touch the wall before (Barnosky).”
Hulstine’s time set a new personal and MCHS record.
Hulstine had previously held the record at 1 minute, 2.07 seconds, which he swam earlier in the season in Arvada.
The 200-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay had also qualified for the state meet earlier in the season. Hulstine and Tegtman will be part of both teams, but Reynolds said the final two spots would not be decided until later this week.
“We have Justin Prosser, Charlie Griffiths, Zack Ahlmer, Dalton Kendall and John Kirk who will all be vying for the final two spots,” she said. “We are going to continue to taper off this week and focus on getting the guys new personal bests at the state meet.”
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