The Moffat County High School boys varsity swimming team’s top placers from Saturday’s Grand Junction Relays at Colorado Mesa University:
(Name — event — place — time)
• Moffat County — 200-yard freestyle relay — 1 — 1:45.58
• Moffat County — 400-yard freestyle relay — 3 — 3:54.92
• Moffat County — 100-yard medley relay — 3 — 1:13.45
• Moffat County — 200-yard fly-free relay — 4 — 2:00.51
• Moffat County — 200-yard back-breast relay — 4 — 2:46.81
• Moffat County — 500-yard crescendo relay — 5 — 5:35.73
— MCHS took fourth out of five teams
Anita Reynolds said the Moffat County High boys varsity swimming team intended to use Saturday’s Grand Junction Relays meet as an early season warm-up.
Instead, the Bulldogs swimmers came out of the starting gate strong, coming within seconds of qualifying two relays for state as well as seeing solid performances from some new swimmers.
Moffat County took fourth out of five teams at Colorado Mesa University, but with a team of only seven swimmers, Reynolds, the Bulldogs coach, said it was more about experience than team placing.
“I felt overall, the team did pretty good,” she said. “We had a couple of brand new swimmers that had some jitters and butterflies, but that gave them some good anxious energy. Everyone was excited to get in the water, and I was very proud.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay, made up of senior John Kirk and junior Matt Hulstine as well as freshman Chris Kling and Steamboat freshman Brenden Carta, took first place with a time of 1 minute, 45.48 seconds.
The team was just over three seconds off the state-qualifying time of 1:42.
“The (200-yard freestyle relay) team had a really good rapport and they helped each other out with starts,” Reynolds said. “They are starting to get the feel and rhythm of swimming with each other just right and if we can work on coming off the walls, that will take off the three seconds we need.”
The 400-yard freestyle relay, comprised of Kirk, Hulstine, Carta and sophomore Colter Tegtman, took third place with a time of 3:54.92 — about four seconds off the state-qualifying time.
Kirk, Hulstine and Tegtman swam in the state meet last season and Reynolds said the big-meet experience would push the relay team to the qualifying time.
“Those three know the energy level needed at a state meet and they have a drive to make it happen,” she said. “If it doesn’t happen this weekend, it will come soon.”
The Bulldogs also competed in four non-Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned relays.
The 100-yard medley relay took third place, the 200-yard fly-free and 200-yard back-breast relays took fourth, and the 500-yard crescendo relay finished in fifth place.
Reynolds said competing in a relay-only meet allows some younger swimmers a chance to compete on a relay team.
“(Relays) force them to depend on another person to do good, so they cheer each other on,” she said. “You succeed as a team or you fail as a team. They get to know each other’s habits and help each other become better swimmers.”
The Bulldogs travel Friday and Saturday to Montrose High School for a two-day meet.
Reynolds said the next few weeks would be focused on narrowing in on each swimmer’s strengths.
“We want to work on our endurance and strength, but also get the guys in events they want to be in,” she said. “We got a chance to see some times in Grand Junction, and now we can work on strokes and get an idea what the rest of the season will look like.”
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