Members of the Moffat County girls swimming team take off from the blocks Friday at the MCHS pool. The team's season begins Dec. 6.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Members of the Moffat County girls swimming team take off from the blocks Friday at the MCHS pool. The team's season begins Dec. 6.

Moffat County girls swimming eyes state this season

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Girls Swimming 2013-14 Schedule

Dec. 6 at Glenwood Springs

Dec. 14 at Grand Junction

Dec. 20 to 21 at Montrose Invitational

Jan. 10 at Summit in Frisco

Jan. 11 at Musting Invitational in Westminster

Jan. 27 home meet at MCHS

Feb. 7 to 8 at League meet at Colorado Mesa University

With the girls high school swimming season beginning in less than three weeks in Colorado, the Moffat County team spent some time working on its starts Friday afternoon.

The Bulldogs had an easier practice Friday, but have been pushing hard since practice began, knowing they need to work to get to the state meet at season’s end.

The Bulldogs are without several swimmers from last year’s team, including state qualifier Eryn Leonard, but will field a team of 14 experienced swimmers for the 2013-14 season.

“It’s a really good group,” said coach Anita Reynolds. “They’ve all got swimming experience, whether it’s on this team or in the summer with the Sea Sharks, so we’re not starting from scratch with anyone.”

Several freshmen will make up the depth missing from last year’s departed swimmers, which has the upperclassmen excited, as well.

“Everybody is pretty experienced,” said junior Laurel Tegtman. “We can hit the ground running.”

While swimming is a individual sport most of the time, the Bulldogs had some of their best success in relays last year, missing the state standard times by a second or less in the 200-meter freestyle and medley relays. A big goal this season will be knocking those times out.

“That’s their goal,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully they can get it out of the way early (in the season), and then just focus on dropping times.”

For both relays, Leonard’s presence will be missed, but especially so in the medley relay, when she swam the butterfly leg. But the team has options to swim the butterfly, and will look for every swimmer to be faster than they were a year ago.

“One of the things about our team is we have at least one of us who knows each stroke really well,” said junior Micah Espinosa.

The Bulldogs have one major piece of the puzzle down. They say the team is as tight-knit as they come. It is unlike teams in other sports Tegtman has been a part of, she said.

“We’re pretty tight as a team,” she said. “Swimming is so much different from other sports, there’s no drama on this team.”

That will help the Bulldogs push and encourage each other throughout the season. A key time for that to happen is during winter break and during the center of the season, when mental toughness is key to keep training hard.

“I think in the past we’ve had a tendency in the middle of the season to get tired,” Espinosa said. “We want to be strong the entire way this year.”

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

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