The Craig Sea Sharks practice Monday morning in preparation for the state competition in Cortez this weekend. Pictured, from right, are Hudson Jones, Megan Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Alexa Neton, Molly Neton, Marisa Hulstine and Jaci McDiffett. Also competing will be Owen Allen.

Photo by Lauren Blair

The Craig Sea Sharks practice Monday morning in preparation for the state competition in Cortez this weekend. Pictured, from right, are Hudson Jones, Megan Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Alexa Neton, Molly Neton, Marisa Hulstine and Jaci McDiffett. Also competing will be Owen Allen.

Craig Sea Sharks angling for wins at state meet

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— Things have been going swimmingly for the members of Craig Sea Sharks as they head into their final competition of the summer.

Craig Sea Sharks state swimmers

The following athletes will compete in Cortez on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

Owen Allen

Marisa Hulstine

Hudson Jones

Alexa Neton

Megan Neton

Molly Neton

Jaci McDiffett

Kelsey McDiffett

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The Craig Sea Sharks practice Monday morning in preparation for the state competition in Cortez this weekend. Pictured, from right, are Hudson Jones, Megan Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Alexa Neton, Molly Neton, Marisa Hulstine and Jaci McDiffett. Also competing will be Owen Allen.

The local team will have eight swimmers attending Cortez’s Seasonal State Meet on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, after weeks of hard work. In fact, a number of other kids on the team qualified for state but are unable to attend the meet, coach Meghan Francone said.

Kids ages 5 to 18 are able to boost their skills through Sea Sharks, put to the test on a weekly basis with tournaments all across Colorado. Francone said she had a high turnout this year, with 56 overall swimmers participating.

“For our size town, we have a very strong swimming program, and it’s very well represented,” she said. “Every year, we have quite a few beginners, and the nice thing is we’re able to retain them, and they stick with it.”

Sisters Molly, Alexa and Megan Neton each will attend the Cortez meet. Among the three of them, they have 14 years of experience on the team.

They each have their different styles in the pool — Molly, 13, likes the backstroke, while Alexa, 11, prefers the butterfly.

Megan, 8, is experiencing her first time at state, following the older sisters who have reached that level on multiple occasions.

“Last year, I didn’t qualify, and this time, I’m in five events,” she said proudly.

Getting to the competitions is exhausting but fun, the siblings said.

“I just like going to all the meets and meeting different people,” Alexa said.

The trio and their teammates also nominated Francone and official Kevin Holman for surprise honors as part of the state meet to show their appreciation.

Likewise, Francone said the swimmers, parents and board members who have been involved this year have made it a worthwhile endeavor.

“We have fun, and it has to be fun because we swim at 7 in the morning,” she said. “That says a lot about them and their willingness to face the cold at that time. They enjoy what they’re learning, make those bonds and friendships that last a lifetime, and it’s just a great thing for our community to have.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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