Members of the Moffat County boys swimming team dive in at practice. Missing just one member from last year's team, hopes are high for more state qualifiers on the boys team.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Members of the Moffat County boys swimming team dive in at practice. Missing just one member from last year's team, hopes are high for more state qualifiers on the boys team.

Boys swimming an experienced squad for Moffat County

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Moffat County boys swimming schedule

March 8 at Grand Junction

March 14 at Glenwood Springs

March 21 at Montrose

April 12 hosting home meet at MCHS

April 18 and 19 at Jefferson County Invite

April 25 and 26 at Mustang Invite

May 3 at Gunnison

May 9 and 10 at WSL Championships in Grand Junction

Missing a star from last year’s team, the Moffat County boys swimmers aren’t batting an eye about their chances to succeed in 2014.

The Bulldogs still plan on competing at the state meet this season, never mind that Matt Hulstine no longer is around.

Hulstine gave four excellent years to the MCHS swimming program and was a major reason why the team qualified for state in the 200-yard freestyle relay last season. But he is the only Bulldog to depart from last year’s squad, giving this one experience and a level of depth the team hasn’t always had.

“Everyone who swam last year is back,” Dalton Kendall said. “I think because we’re a smaller team we work harder. We have to be able to swim more and everyone pitches in on this team.”

With about a dozen members, Moffat County still is the smallest swimming program on the Western Slope, meaning each swimmer has to chip in on relays and multiple individual events. Kendall thinks that makes them a well-rounded group and one that could return to the state meet.

“We’re all dedicated to state. We’re pretty confident looking at the relays,” he said. “We want to qualify as fast as possible so we can start focusing on other events.”

Coach Meghan Francone thinks state qualifying is well within their reach, too.

“I foresee, if we can get all the boys together at the same meet for our relays, we can get into state,” she said. “We lost phenomenal talent last year but we’ve got some boys here who are wanting to step up.”

Swimming a state-qualifying time early in the season can allow a team of swimmers to turn their focus to different events where qualifying could be a greater challenge. Kendall hopes to get the relays and 50 freestyle out of the way quickly, so he can focus on backstroke, he said. Others will look to get there in breaststroke and longer freestyle events.

“I always expect the best from them,” Francone said. “That’s because every single season they rise to the expectations.”

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

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