MCHS junior Matt Hulstine qualifies for 4A state swim meet
The Moffat County High School boys varsity swimming team’s top placers from Saturday’s Montrose Invitational in Montrose:
(Name — event — place — time)
• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard breaststroke — 2 — 1:04:84*
• Matt Hulstine — 200-yard breaststroke — 2 — 2:25.92
• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard butterfly — 7 — 1:01.97
• Matt Hulstine — 200-yard freestyle — 9 — 2:03.59
• Brenden Carta — 50-yard butterfly — 9 — 32.23
• Moffat County — 400-yard medley relay — 12 — 5:11.02
• Moffat County — 200-yard freestyle relay — 13 — 1:51.05
• Moffat County — 200-yard medley relay — 14 — 2:10.14
• Moffat County — 400-yard freestyle relay — 14 — 4:18.47
— MCHS took seventh out of nine teams
* Class 4A state qualifying time
Being among the best in the state at the breaststroke has become something of the norm for Matt Hulstine.
During the summer, Hulstine swam his way to two first-place finishes in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events at the 2011 Western Zone Age Championships.
Last May, Hulstine finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class 4A boys state swimming competition as a sophomore.
Now as a Moffat County High School junior, Hulstine expects great things from himself when he competes in the breaststroke.
On Saturday in the Montrose Tournament, Hulstine came in well under the 4A state-qualifying time in the 100-yard breaststroke, taking second place with a time of 1 minute, 4.84 seconds.
The state qualifying mark is 1:09.
“I am use to doing good in the breaststroke, so I knew I would get (the qualifying time) early,” Hulstine said Monday. “Last year, I swam around a minute flat and it has been one of my best strokes for a while, so the qualifying time was pretty easy for me to get.”
Hulstine said with the qualifying time out of the way, he could concentrate on working to get to his personal goal.
“It feels good to have the time because now there is no anxiety about it and I can just focus on getting my time as low as I can,” he said. “I really want to get under a minute, so I need to work on keeping up my pace and work on my turns to get there.”
Hulstine also took second in the 200-yard breaststroke, a non-Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned event, seventh in the 100-yard butterfly and ninth in the 200-yard freestyle.
The junior’s mark in the 100-yard butterfly, 1:01.97, is less than a second off the state-qualifying time of 1:01.5.
“The butterfly is another one of my strong strokes and I didn’t feel great (in Montrose), so I think I will get it quick,” Hulstine said.
Head coach Meghan Francone said the Bulldogs have had some tough practices early in the season, so for Hulstine to be swimming state-qualifying times this early is a great accomplishment.
With about eight weeks until the state championships, Francone said Hulstine would only get faster.
“Matt works hard and listens and makes the changes us coaches tell him to make,” she said. “He doesn’t take any days off and always puts in the effort both physically and mentally. He works hard every day.”
The Bulldogs took seventh as a team out of nine teams in Montrose.
Steamboat Springs freshman Brenden Carta, who swims for Moffat County, was the only other Bulldog swimmer to place in the top 10, taking ninth in the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 32.23 seconds.
Francone said swimmers used the beginning of the season to work on upper-body conditioning, but now the team will work on lower-body conditioning to continue to cut time.
“We are going to have to work on a lot of kicking drills and of course on our streamlines,” she said. “I think the upper body strength has paid off, but now we need to work a lot on our kicking as we get into the middle of the season.”