Moffat County swimmers closing in on state

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The Moffat County girls swimming team came back from its first big meet of the season with a sixth-place finish but much more to be excited about.

At the Southwest League Relays last weekend at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, the Bulldogs, not quite swimming at full strength, took sixth out of 11 teams in the all-relays meet.

While the Bulldogs lost to some familiar customers—Montrose and Glenwood Springs being two of the five—they came away from the meet with good news for the competitive season moving forward.

In the relay meet, most of the events are not swam at the state meet, and are therefore just a way to swim something different and mix it up in the early part of the season. But the three relays that can qualify swimmers for the Colorado High School Activities Association state meet were also available.

In those three—the 200-meter freestyle, the 200-meter medley and 400-meter freestyle—Moffat County had a good showing. The Bulldogs’ first team won the 200-free relay, and is less than five seconds away from swimming a state-qualifying time.

In the 200 medley, Moffat County was second only to Glenwood Springs in 2:09.99, and is again just shy of a state time.

That MCHS has itself close to qualifying this early in the season is something coach Meghan Francone is excited about. It takes pressure off swimmers for the rest of the short season.

“It takes a lot of stress off,” Francone said of qualifying early. “We don’t have a lot of meets this year, so the stress is already there. We still have a good shot at the relays. We dropped significant time in them from last weekend to this one. So we are looking to qualify very soon in those.”

The team’s other coach, Anita Reynolds, saw some positives at the meet as well.

“I think it was a good meet for them to work together in a group,” Reynolds said. “They had to rely on each other to get their strokes down and their timing. We had some good times and it gaves us good idea for future relay setups.”

This week the Bulldogs head to Montrose High School for a meet. Their final meet in 2012, it will be yet another meet against all Western Slope competition. As a result of not many teams competing in swimming in the western part of the state, swimming against familiar foes is necessary for much of the season for MCHS.

“Because we don’t have a lot of teams on the Western Slope, if we stay Western Slope, we see the same people,” Francone said. “We try very hard to go Front Range. We’ll go to Summit this year, because I think its important that our girls see different competition.”

After the Montrose Meet the girls don’t compete until their home meet in January. A state-qualification would go a long way toward making winter break even better for the swimmers.

Reynolds thinks those times are coming soon.

“Our 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, we’re within five seconds, so we see that light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “That’s just a matter of getting the right girls in the right spots now. I think we’re close to our perfect mix.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports

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