Seeing some of the best swimmers in the state didn’t scare Moffat County’s boys during the weekend.
The Bulldogs went to the Jeffco Invite on Friday and Saturday — their first meet of the season away from the Western Slope and first chance to see swimmers from the Front Range, where many of the best times of the season were swam. They didn’t shy away from the competition, though, and put together a few excellent swims that bode well for the end of the season.
The highlight of the day came in the 50-meter freestyle when Dalton Kendall took second overall and swam his best time of the season, 22.68 seconds. Kendall had finished in 23.10 during the prelims Friday and was the sixth seed in the finals but came up big and showed he can contend with anyone in the state.
“It was exciting to see as a coach,” coach Meghan Francone said about the swim. “The 50 free is anybody’s game and Dalton made sure it was his Saturday. It was an amazing race.”
The Bulldogs had another excellent 50 free swim from sophomore Jesse Kurz. In the 200-meter free relay, Kurz broke under the 24 second state-qualifying standard for the first time this season. Because he was swimming in the middle of the relay instead of the leadoff spot, however, the swim can’t count toward qualifying.
Still, Kurz has a chance to get to state on his own in the 50 and 100 free this weekend at the Mustang Invite. If he can duplicate his leg of the relay or drop just more than a second from his 100 free time (Kurz has swam 55 seconds, he needs a 53.80), he’ll have a spot.
“He’s looking to get both those times to state,” Francone said. “We’re looking for great things again this weekend, especially in those sprints.”
Moffat County’s less experienced swimmers improved, as well. Jesse DeMoor and Dean Wagner each finished their 50 freestyle races in under 30 seconds, personal bests for both swimmers.
Not every event brought a season-best for the Bulldogs, but the team was competitive in every event it participated in, an encouraging sign for them with less than a month until the state meet.
“This was by far the biggest meet that some of our boys have been to,” Francone said. “To see them swim so well anyway is really exciting.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.