Eryn Leonard swims into the final turn of the 100-yard butterfly at Moffat County High School earlier this season. Leonard will swim the 100-fly and 50-yard freestyle at the state meet this Saturday, with hopes of qualifying for the finals in both.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Eryn Leonard swims into the final turn of the 100-yard butterfly at Moffat County High School earlier this season. Leonard will swim the 100-fly and 50-yard freestyle at the state meet this Saturday, with hopes of qualifying for the finals in both.

Moffat County's Leonard to represent Bulldogs at state

If you go...

Colorado 4A State Swimming Championships

• Veteran's Memorial Aquatics Center, Thornton

• Friday 4 p.m. Prelims begin

• Saturday 2 p.m. Finals being

The swimming pool at Moffat County High School is no longer full of life.

The team of 18 swimmers, joking and making noise and churning up water in between, has all moved on — except for one.

Moffat County senior Eryn Leonard is the final member of the team left in the pool, looking to close out her career as a Bulldog on a high note.

“She’s been able to get a lot of one-on-one time with coaches headed into state, so it’s not all bad,” Moffat County coach Meghan Francone said. “But it’s hard for her to not have her teammates there.”

At the Western Slope League Championships last weekend, the Bulldogs’ bids for state qualifying times came up short. No events were tougher to swallow than the 200-meter freestyle relay, where Moffat County’s 1:52.81 in the finals Saturday was an agonizing 1.5 seconds away from a qualification.

So while the season for most of the Bulldogs is done, Leonard still has one more weekend of high school swimming competition. She qualified in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly earlier in the season, and is now looking to be at her best in those events starting today.

The senior currently sits with the ninth-best time in the butterfly and 13th best in freestyle. In either event, a strong performance from Leonard, or lackluster ones from her opponents leave room to move up or fall back.

Swimming well on the first day is important, with the top 16 swimmers advancing to the finals Saturday.

In the ultra-competitive 50-free, dropping a half-second from her time would move Leonard into the eighth-best spot, based on the qualifying times. Dropping a second would place her fourth. Conversely, losing a half-second would have Leonard all the way back in 23rd.

“It’s always wonderful to be able to come back on the second day,” Francone said. “But it’s difficult, with just the top 16 coming back, especially in the 50-free. If you shave your leg wrong, you go from 13th to 23rd.”

But Leonard is in good position to move on in both of her events. Her current times would qualify her going into the weekend, and she is in peak form right now, Francone said.

“I think she’s feeling good,” Francone said. “She’s physically ready, she’s mentally ready. She’s not sick anymore and her body’s gotten the rest it needs. She’s going to be ready to go.”

Leonard said her goals included going under one minute in the 100 butterfly (her qualifying time is 1:00.18) and getting revenge on some of her Western Slope League rivals who she lost to in last weekend’s WSL Championships.

She also plans on swimming both days. Leonard and Francone both know the key is to be prepared, because in each race you get just one chance, and it is over quickly.

“It comes down to how ready you are for that moment,”Francone said. “We’ll see what happens when she hits the water.”

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

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