The Moffat County boys swimming team took the week off from competition, leaving the Bulldogs with just two meets to go in their season: the regional meet in Grand Junction next weekend, which doubles as the final chance to swim a state qualifying time, and the state meet itself May 16 and 17.
For the most part, the Bulldogs are set in their state qualifiers. The 200-meter medley relay team of Dalton Kendall, Cody McDermott, Brenden Carta and Jesse Kurz is in, as is the 200 freestyle relay group of Kendal, Carta, Kurz and Chris Kling.
Kendall has a state time in the 50 and 100 freestyle races and the 100-meter backstroke, while Kurz and Carta both would need to drop fractions of a second from their 50 freestyle times in order to qualify as individuals.
While adding another event to their state schedule would be a thrill for Kurz or Carta, the Bulldogs already are pleased with what their team has been able to accomplish.
“We’re feeling pretty good and getting amped up for the end of the year,” McDermott said, adding that the end of his high school swimming career looming hasn’t escaped him. “It’s kind of getting sad, too, just with two meets left. Every day pretty much feels like a normal day of practice, so they go by so fast.”
All of Moffat County’s current qualifiers swam their times to guarantee a spot in the state field months ago in the first half of the season — the ideal situation to take pressure off swimmers — but the Bulldogs didn’t stop there.
Each of the 200 relay teams swam their fastest splits of the season at last weekend’s Mustang Invitational in Denver, one of the largest meets of the season. The freestyle relay finished in 1:38.81 and is the 18th best in 4A, while the medley team’s time of 1:54.64 was a season best.
The Bulldogs are feeling confident because they’ve swam together all season and know each other’s swimming styles and strengths all too well.
“It’s getting to the point where we time each other, we can get each other’s tempo,” McDermott said. “When Dalton’s coming in doing backstroke, I know what he’s going to do and how he’s going to finish so I can get right off the wall.”
McDermott went to state last year as an alternate on the team’s relay, so he didn’t get to compete, but being there has educated him and his teammates about how to handle the state meet.
Most of what the senior is concerned about doesn’t involve swimming, after seeing teammate Matt Hulstine suffer an injury last year and have to bow out of the finals.
“You can’t miss your race because they just move it so fast,” McDermott said of the pace of the meet. “The thing I want to do is be overprepared and then not have to worry about things. Make sure all your equipment is working, make sure you’re paying attention.
“I’m pretty pumped up. I get to swim breaststroke at the state meet. That’s been my dream since I started.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .