MCHS girls swim team qualifies for five finals at Jeffco Invite

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Top individual finishers from the MCHS girls varsity swimming team’s performance Friday and Saturday in the Jeffco Invitational:

(Name — event — place — time)

• Amy Brodie — 100-yard freestyle — 4 — 55.15*

• Eryn Leonard — 100-yard butterfly — 7 — 1:02.16*

• Eryn Leonard — 50-yard freestyle — 8 — 26.05*

• Moffat County — 400-yard freestyle relay — 10 — 3:56.71*

• Moffat County — 200-yard medley relay — 13 — 2:02.85*

— MCHS finished 13th out of 26 teams.

* 4A state-qualifying time

Meghan Francone said the Jeffco Invitational is as big a meet as the Moffat County High School girls varsity swimming team will compete in this season.

The meet has more teams than the state meet and includes a mix of Class 4A and 5A teams.

So, Francone said, to see two relay teams and two individuals qualify for the finals Saturday at the Jeffco Invite is a big accomplishment.

Junior Eryn Leonard finished in the top 10 in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly — seventh and eighth place, respectively — while Steamboat Springs senior Amy Brodie, who swims for the Bulldogs, took fourth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Leonard and Brodie also competed on the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay with Steamboat senior Luci Franklin and MCHS freshman Laurel Tegtman.

The medley relay finished in 13th place and the freestyle relay recorded a 10th-place finish.

The Bulldogs finished 13th as a team out of the 26 teams competing at the meet.

“The girls really swam well and cut huge amounts of time,” Francone said Monday. “It is a long, big meet, so the girls had a lot of adrenaline and they had to regulate it and use it when needed.

“We came out a little lighter in times than when we went in.”

Leonard, Brodie and both relays all reposted 4A state-qualifying times in each event.

Leonard cut around a second off each of her events while Brodie is getting closer to her goal of 53 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.

Francone said one of the benefits of swimming at the Jeffco Invite is being able to compete against some of the best swimmers in Colorado before the state meet.

For swimmers like Leonard, Francone said the mental aspect could get in the way of faster times.

That wasn’t the case Saturday.

“Leonard had her fastest times in the prelims, so when she went out and didn’t get as fast a time in the 50-free, that would usually affect her in her following events,” Francone said. “But, she had a lot of energy and she seemed to overcome that mental block at huge competitions. It was a huge positive to come out of the weekend for her.”

For Brodie, Francone said she has all the raw talent to begin with and is starting to refine every area of her stroke.

“We wanted Brodie to pick up the tempo because she has everything she needs, she just needs to do it faster,” Francone said. “She had some drag out of her breakouts, but with a faster tempo, she has been cutting time almost every time she swims.

“We used to tell her to go out and get the girls, but now we tell her to watch out for the girls coming after her.”

Both relays swam their fastest times of the season as well.

The freestyle relay finished 10th officially, but posted the eighth fastest time in the finals.

In the medley relay, Franklin swam the freestyle stroke and swam a state-qualifying time of 26.16 seconds, but her time was not official because she was not the leadoff swimmer.

Francone said the four girls that make up both relays are starting to get into a groove and will continue to cut time en route to the state meet Feb. 10.

“Some coaches may put the girls in a different order, but we have found the way that works for all of them and allows them to swim their fastest times,” Francone said. “They are really getting cohesive and are able to read each other and know when they need to get into the water.”

The Bulldogs get back in the pool at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gunnison.

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