Dean Wagner, Bryce Tuttle, Jesse Kurz and Chris Kling start off the blocks at the Moffat County home swimming meet last weekend. The Bulldogs will return from spring break with five more chances to qualify for the state meet May 17 and 18.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Dean Wagner, Bryce Tuttle, Jesse Kurz and Chris Kling start off the blocks at the Moffat County home swimming meet last weekend. The Bulldogs will return from spring break with five more chances to qualify for the state meet May 17 and 18.

Boys swim team has new and experienced swimmers

Remaining swimming schedule

April 12-13 meet at Montrose High School

April 19-20 at the Jefferson County Invite

April 27 at the Mustang Invite, Veteran's Memorial Aquatic Center

May 3 meet at Glenwood Springs High School

May 10-11 Western Slope League Championships at Colorado Mesa University

May 17 State championships at Veteran's Memorial Aquatic Center

— In swimming, significant improvement doesn’t come quickly often.

At the professional and Olympic levels, dropping a couple hundredths of a second is a huge deal.

That’s why Moffat County swimming coach Meghan Francone is thrilled about the progress of the boys swimming team. With a roster full of mostly younger athletes and inexperienced swimmers, the times this season have dropped quickly.

The Bulldogs are full of freshmen and sophomores, some of whom had not swum competitively before this season. But the team also runs the gamut up to its most senior member, Matt Hulstine, who has signed to swim at the University of Denver next year.

“We’ve got a young team but also some returning members,” Francone said. “We have everything from kids joining the team to get conditioning all the way to college swimmers.”

Over the course of the season, Francone says the team’s newest swimmers have seen significant time drop in their events. That’s partially because they were starting from scratch and so much room for improvement.

But the fact that they are working hard and making those improvements is something she is pleased with.

“You should expect to see more time to drop” with new swimmers, Francone said. “But with some of these guys, it’s been amazing. Bryce (Tuttle), the improvement he’s had in such a short time is awesome.”

Some of the younger swimmers spent time on the Sea Sharks summer team and are starting to get back into a swimming groove, coach Anita Reynolds said.

“The base of freshmen we have, three of them swam at Sea Sharks,” Reynolds said. “Being able to get back into the pool in high school, it’s given them a different view. All of their skills are coming back and we’ve seen some huge surprises.”

Hulstine is the only Bulldog to qualify for state so far, but several others are close. Brenden Carta is knocking on the door of hitting a state time in butterfly and freestyle events, while Chris Kling is close in the 100-meter backstroke, Francone said.

Freshman Jesse Kurz has made huge strides in the backstroke and is not far behind Kling, while Cody McDermott is challenging to qualify in the 50 free.

“They put their heart and soul into every practice,” she said about this year’s squad. “Sure, they complain, but they know through all the hard work, it will pay off. I think they have committed themselves to it and will pull through for us as the season goes on.”

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

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