Hulstine, Bulldogs wow with top times

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— In the same week he signed to swim in college, Matt Hulstine kept his good mojo going.

The Moffat County senior signed with the University of Denver last Wednesday, then had a meet to remember at the Jefferson County Invite, hosted at Chatfield High School in Littleton.

He started off by breaking the MCHS school record in the 200 individual medley and taking fourth in the event, losing only to Class 5A swimmers. Hulstine swam a 2:02.47 in the 200-yard event, which converts to a 2:16.06 in meters, good enough to beat Blake Worsley’s old school record of 2:21.08.

Later, Hulstine would capture a goal he’s been eyeing for years in the 100 breaststroke. He took first place at the meet, swimming a personal-best 58.84 seconds and shattering his own school record.

Hulstine was nearly two seconds ahead of his closest competitor in the final and impressed the Front Range crowds at the meet.

“I’ve been trying to break a minute since sophomore year,” Hulstine said. “Usually, in the past, I’ve been done swimming in the fall, but this year, I kept swimming all winter. I was really pumped up for my race Saturday. I was ready for it.”

Hulstine’s time was the second fastest in any classification so far in the 100 breast, and it turned some heads at the meet, coach Meghan Francone said.

“This was our first big meet where we went to see Front Range schools,” Francone said. “A lot of those kids had never heard of Matt. Once he swam that 58, though, you could tell people were thinking, ‘Moffat? Where’s that?’”

It was not just Hulstine who represented the Bulldogs well in Littleton, though. Freshman Bryce Tuttle hacked 16 seconds off his best time in the 200 freestyle, while Tanner Snyder, Chris Kling and Jesse Kurz all set personal records in the 100 free.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the Bulldogs swam without usual relay member Brenden Carta and came within two seconds from meeting the state-qualifying standard.

“We haven’t been at full strength, with 100 percent of our guys all year,” Francone said. “But our boys are stepping up to the plate, and filling wherever they are needed, and swimming well.”

After his performance at the meet, Hulstine will be on plenty of top swimmers’ radar as the state meet inches closer. That’s just fine by him.

“I still want to keep dropping time,” he said. “I want to place as high as I can (at state), and I’d like to get to 57 (seconds), maybe under 57 for time.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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