It’s the biggest weekend of the year for the Moffat County boys swimming team, and the Bulldogs are ready to get after it.
The team will send almost half its nine-person regular season roster to the 2013 Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A Boys Swim and Dive State Championship Meet. The swimming begins at 4 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.
Moffat County will have athletes in four different events. Matt Hulstine will swim in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley, and he’ll join teammates Jesse Kurz, Brenden Carta and Chris Kling in the 200 medley and freestyle relays.
In the individual events, Hulstine will hope to be near the top of the podium. The senior has the best time in Class 4A this year in the 100 breast, and he is seeded fifth in the 200 IM.
“He knows where he is and what he has to do,” head coach Meghan Francone said. “He’s looked at the times.”
It’s a different story for the Bulldogs’ relays teams. In both relays, Moffat County is near the back end of the teams to qualify and will have to swim its best in order to advance to the finals or consolation finals Saturday.
The silver lining is that Bulldogs are near the back of a very congested group, so moving up several spots is not out of the question. In the 200 medley relay they have the 23rd-best time but are just 2.5 seconds away from the 16th-best time. In the 200 free relay, they swam just 1.5 seconds slower than the 16th-place qualifying team.
The Bulldogs are making plans for swimming Friday and Saturday.
“Good starts and good turns are going to be big,” said Kurz, a freshman swimming in his first state competition. “I’m pumped for it.”
Kling swam on a Moffat County state relay team last year, and memories of that experience have him looking forward to this weekend.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “I had so much fun last year and am looking to make it even better this year.”
Kling said state is a different animal from the rest of the meets in a season because of the number of athletes competing there. During warmups, the pool is packed to the brim with swimmers trying to loosen up, he said.
Francone is curious to see how the Bulldogs will perform this weekend. It is Kurz’s first state competition, and other Moffat County swimmers are dealing with illness. But the Bulldogs have pulled off great swims all season, so it could happen again, she said.
“If any team can pull it out and do their best with odds stacked against them, it will be these boys because they’ve done it all season long,” she said. “People are surprised they made it to state, and they shouldn’t be. These boys have worked hard and they’re very talented.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org