Marissa Hulstine dives in during the 200-meter freestyle relay at Moffat County High School in January. Both MCHS 200 relay teams are near qualifying times for the state meet and will try to drop the necessary time to get there at this weekend's Western Slope Regional meet.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Marissa Hulstine dives in during the 200-meter freestyle relay at Moffat County High School in January. Both MCHS 200 relay teams are near qualifying times for the state meet and will try to drop the necessary time to get there at this weekend's Western Slope Regional meet.

Moffat County swimming season wrapping up at regionals

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What: Moffat County girls swimming at Western Slope League Regional meet

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction

— With the end of the winter swimming season coming, the Moffat County girls swimming team has one more chance to extend its season.

That will come Friday and Saturday at the Western Slope Regional meet at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. With no state qualifying times yet, the Bulldogs will seek to drop the necessary time to swim the following weekend.

“Everything they’ve prepared for all season comes down to this,” coach Meghan Francone said. “This is their last opportunity to qualify for state, so they’ll have to step up.”

While every swimmer plans to swim well, their time at regionals will be about more than just fast times, swimmers said.

“Of course, we all want to make state, but I also just want everyone to have fun,” Laurel Tegtman said. “That’s what this whole sport is about, is being a team and a family and enjoying it.”

With many young swimmers and newcomers to the sport, the season has consisted of lots of extreme drops in time. That on its own is worthy of celebrating for the Bulldogs, said senior Kelly Knez, who is nearing the end of her first season of swimming.

“One of the big goals is trying to qualify individuals and relays for state, obviously,” she said. “I think as a team, we want to improve week to week, and I think regionals is a great place to say, 'If we don’t make it to state, this is what we’ve accomplished this season, and we’ve come so far.'”

Among the goals as well will be placing in the top 16 during preliminary swimming Friday. The top 16 will be invited back to swim Saturday in the finals, which many Bulldogs plan to reach.

In the 12 swimming events, the Bulldogs have 11 individuals or relay teams seeded in the top 16 entering the meet. A good swim should move some team members into the Saturday swimming comfortably, such as in each 200-yard relay, while the Bulldogs will have to battle to get a finals spot in other events.

Stephany Joos sits 15th in the 100-yard breaststroke, Alex Samuelson is 16th in the 50 freestyle and Allie Dilldine is 19th in the 100 backstroke, and all of them will have a chance Friday to finish several spots above or below that time. The difference, Francone said, will be putting together a perfect race when it’s their turn to dive in.

“All those little aspects need to come together,” she said. “Everything we’ve worked on from the start of the season to the finish has to be there.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

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