Lady Bulldogs aiming at early-season state qualification |

Lady Bulldogs aiming at early-season state qualification

Daily Press writer
A second can be a long time.
Ask junior Kallie Murphy, she’ll tell you the same since it was a second that kept her from qualifying for state in the first swim meet last season. But the elusive 1:17 state qualification time in the 100-yard breaststroke is firmly in her cross-hairs for the first meet of the season Saturday in Montrose.
Although, Murphy is confident she can swim 1:17 and under, she also understand how hard it is to preform early in the season.
“It’s usually really hard to swim the way you want during the first meet of the season because you’re not at your peak yet,” Murphy said. “But, the whole team has come into practice in better shape, and we started out with harder practice, so hopefully we’re in a little better shape early in the season.”
Moffat County swimmers work at each swim meet to attain state qualification times. Once they’ve met the elusive times, they’re slated for the state meet no matter what the season holds for them.
Murphy’s coach, Ed Stehlin would have to agree with his swimmer on the topic of conditioning, saying that right now the whole of the Lady ‘Dogs swim team is in mid-season form.
Stehlin also agrees with his swimmer on the topic of how hard this first meet will be, but for different reasons than conditioning. Instead, Stehlin is worried about the caliber of competition his swimmers will face when they reach Montrose.
The Montrose meet will draw in three other teams besides the Lady Bulldogs, and two of the team are notorious for drawing from year around programs. Montrose and Durango are both from communities which swim all but a few months of the year, Cortez is the only team in the same boat as Moffat County slated to attend the meet.
“This will be a real early test for the team, because Durango and Montrose should be in good condition,” Stehlin said. “It’s just because those teams will be in condition going into the meet, and that’s something we’re still working on.”
Though conditioning is a double-edged sword for the swim team now, better than last year, but still behind year around programs, Stehlin doesn’t see any reason why Murphy and few others won’t qualify in the meet.
In fact, he sees a good chance for four others besides Murphy qualifying in individual events, and a chance for two relays to swim their times as well.
Senior Miranda Hillewaert and freshman Heather Whiting will be swimming for their qualification times in the 50 freestyle, Whiting will also be fighting for a qualification in the 100 breaststroke.
Also going for her time in the 100 breaststroke will be senior Jessica Hererra, who was the lone Lady ‘Dog to qualify for state last season.
Hererra and Whiting, while being Lady Bulldogs they do not hail from Craig, or even Moffat County. Both are imports, Hererra traveling in from Rangley to race for the high school, and Whiting traveling from Steamboat Springs.
“All of these girls have a pretty good chance of nailing their times this weekend, especially Whiting,” Stehlin said. “Whiting has swam qualification times already this summer.”
The two Lady Bulldog relay teams that are sniffing for their qualifications are the 200 medley relay, made up by Whiting, Hererra, Hillewaert and senior Michelle Harman. The other is the 200 freestyle relay, made up by Whiting, Hilleweart, junior Nicole Vorhies and junior Chloe Gilchrist.
The Lady ‘Dogs will also send four divers to Montrose, three who are returners. Juniors Kristin Whinery, Aubrey Ripkoski and Janie Dunckley all dove for the team last season and have added sophomore Amanda Vaughn to their ranks.
“The divers have high expectations for themselves this season, and if they live up to their expectations they’ll have a big year,” Stehlin said. “They just have some mental issues they have to face to get there some fear issues about the harder dives they have to do to qualify.”

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