Members of the Craig Sea Sharks are shown with Kelsey Conci, center, after the team’s practice Monday morning. Conci, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate and competitor at the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials, helped the Sea Sharks with practice Monday and Tuesday as the team prepares for state competitions.

Michelle Henderson

Members of the Craig Sea Sharks are shown with Kelsey Conci, center, after the team’s practice Monday morning. Conci, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate and competitor at the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials, helped the Sea Sharks with practice Monday and Tuesday as the team prepares for state competitions.

Youth swimming team finishes 10th at league meet

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At a glance…

Sea Sharks winning at the Western Slope League Meet:

• Matt Hulstine:

— 100-meter breaststroke

— 200-meter breaststroke

— 100-meter butterfly

Eryn Leonard:

— 100-meter butterfly

For full results, visit http://westernslo....

Quotable

“They absolutely swam phenomenally. I really can’t say much else about it. We had some really exciting races that will stick out in my mind for a while.”

—Meghan Francone, Craig Sea Sharks coach, about her swimmmers’ performance at the Western Slope League Championships

Going against tough competition at the Western Slope League Meet, the Craig Sea Sharks had 14 swimmers deliver strong performances.

The Sea Sharks placed 10th out of 16 at the meet, but since they were competing against several large teams, winning the overall score was never a concern for the local team.

Individual Sea Sharks who swam held their own, head coach Meghan Francone said.

“They absolutely swam phenomenally. I really can’t say much else about it,” she said. “We had some really exciting races that will stick out in my mind for a while.”

Matt Hulstine won three events and Eryn Leonard won another.

Sea Sharks swimmers competed in a total of 60 events at the meet, and placed in the top 15 in 43 of them.

With some events having as many as 42 participants, Francone was happy with the way her swimmers competed.

Katelyn Olson, 15, was at a disadvantage as the youngest swimmer in her events, but delivered anyway, scoring 90 points.

“I don’t think people fully understand how difficult that is. If it’s an open event, you can have anyone swimming against you under USA Swimming rules,” she said. “Katelyn and (sister) Amy come from Wyoming, where the time standards are higher. But they came here and accepted the challenge and it was great to see Katelyn race so well. She’s fun to watch because she packs a punch at the end of the race. "You never know how much gas she’s going to have left in the tank.”

Now the Sea Sharks will turn to the final part of their season, in which swimmers will go to various state competitions.

Coming first is the USA Swimming/Speedo Champions Series in Portland, Ore., where Hulstine will be swimming starting today.

Leonard will swim at the Colorado Long Course State Championships, a state meet for year-round swimmers as opposed to those who have been swimming in the spring and summer only.

Ten more Sea Sharks will participate in the Seasonal State meet August 3 through 5 in Gunnison.

For Francone, prepping swimmers for three different meets happening at different times can be complex.

“You just have to know your athletes and their goals,” she said. “Each athlete is at a different point and depending on their goals for the season, some are tapering now and some will wait to taper.”

To help all Sea Sharks with events still to come, Kelsey Conci went to practice to give pointers.

Conci, who placed 11th in the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, is a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate.

Conci said she wanted to cover basic swimming techniques in the two days she was there, but she wanted them to be helpful as well.

“We did freestyle drills, flip turns and starts, all pretty easy stuff to learn,” she said. “(Turns) aren’t harder to learn, it’s just technical and once they have that technique down, it makes a difference. It’s definitely important for all races.”

Conci, who practiced with the Sea Sharks on Monday and Tuesday, said she was impressed with the team.

“There’s a lot of really young swimmers on the Sea Sharks, and being good at (swimming) and constantly getting better is a good reminder of how fun it can be,” she said. “A lot of them work really hard and it was easy to see. "I think they were having fun, too. They’re definitely a great group of kids.”

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