Matt Hulstine, a Moffat County High School junior, swims the breaststroke Monday during practice in the MCHS pool. Hulstine swam five Class 4A state-qualifying times over the weekend, including first-time qualifying times in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Matt Hulstine, a Moffat County High School junior, swims the breaststroke Monday during practice in the MCHS pool. Hulstine swam five Class 4A state-qualifying times over the weekend, including first-time qualifying times in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.

MCHS junior Matt Hulstine swims five state-qualifying times over the weekend

MCHS boys varsity swimming team’s top finishers from Friday’s Montrose Invitational:

(Name — event — place — time)

• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard breaststroke — 1 — 1:02.09*

• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard freestyle — 2 — 53.24*

• MCHS — 200-yard medley relay — 3 — 2:00.94

• MCHS — 200-yard freestyle relay — 3 — 1:43.3

• John Kirk — 200-yard freestyle — 3 — 2:07.86

• John Kirk — 100-yard backstroke — 5 — 1:05.44

• Brenden Carta — 100-yard butterfly — 4 — 1:15.72

  • Class 4A state qualifying time

MCHS boys varsity swimming team’s top finishers from Saturday’s Griffins Meet in Grand Junction:

(Name — event — place — time)

• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard breaststroke — 2 — 1:01.49*

• Matt Hulstine — 100-yard butterfly — 2 — 59.13*

• John Kirk — 10-yard backstroke — 3 — 1:04.14

• MCHS — 200-yard freestyle relay — 4 — 1:44.32

• MCHS — 200-yard medley relay — 5 — 1:59.69

  • Class 4A state qualifying time

It was the end of a long weekend for Matt Hulstine when he stepped out of the pool Saturday at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

Hulstine, a Moffat County High School junior, swam eight events over two days between competing Friday in Montrose and Saturday in Grand Junction.

Yet, even at the end, Hulstine didn’t let his fatigue overshadow his accomplishments over the weekend.

Between the two meets, the MCHS junior posted five Class 4A state-qualifying times, stamping his ticket to the state meet in three new events and twice swimming a qualifying time in the 100-yard breaststroke, an event he qualified in the previous weekend.

“I felt really good,” Hulstine said Monday. “I felt better than I had all season and now I feel confident for the rest of the year. Now I can focus on getting all my times down.”

On Friday, Hulstine qualified in the 100-yard freestyle, coming in at 53.24 seconds, just under the time needed of 53.5 seconds.

He also swam his season personal best of 1 minute, 2.09 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Hulstine’s personal best didn’t last long, however, as he swam the breaststroke in 1:01.49 the next day, capping a meet in which he also qualified in the 100-yard butterfly and the 50-yard freestyle.

The two-day grind didn’t affect Hulstine, who has been swimming since he was 8, as it may other swimmers, Bulldogs head coach Meghan Francone said.

Hulstine said his work in the summer got him ready, but Francone said Hulstine puts in all the work during the season as well.

“For a typical swimmer, it would be a difficult challenge to continually swim at a high level, but for Matt, it’s not hard,” she said. “He had all his ducks in a row and was great on starts and flip turns. There are a few areas we can clean up, as there is with any athlete, but he puts the hard work in and it shows.”

The preparation, Hulstine said, begins during practice, but ends with a solid warm-up before events.

“I don’t feel I am warmed-up unless I am a little tired,” he said. “If I am a little tired, I am excited to go and I have this feeling, and when I have that feeling, I know I will do well.”

In the breaststroke event in Grand Junction, Hulstine got to swim in the next lane over from Montrose’s Michael Barnosky, who he describes as his rival in the event.

Barnosky narrowly beat out Hulstine, winning the event in 1:00.54.

Hulstine said swimming against Barnosky provides “really exciting competition.”

Francone couldn’t agree more.

“Michael had Matt off the start and had a better streamline, but Matt’s strokes were stronger,” she said. “Each of them have their fair share of wins over each other and each time they race against each other they are both strong and give it their all.”

Hulstine may have his name listed for four events at the state meet, but he will only swim two individual races.

And, while he said he would probably choose the breaststroke and butterfly, he won’t stop working on every other stroke.

“I am going to try and get better in every stroke I can because, ultimately, I want to swim in college,” he said. “In college you have to be able to swim anything, so I want to get my times down in every stroke as low as I can.”

Joshua Gordon can be reached at 875-1795 or joshgordon@craigdailypress.com.

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