MCHS grad qualifies for NCAA swim championships, Olympic trials |

MCHS grad qualifies for NCAA swim championships, Olympic trials

Joshua Gordon

Kelsey Conci, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, swims in the 4A state meet during her senior year. Conci, now a junior at the University of Wyoming, qualified for the NCAA swimming championship meet and the 2012 Summer Olympic Trials during the last weekend of February.

Since her days at Moffat County High School, swimmer Kelsey Conci has become accustomed to finishing toward the top and taking home achievements.

As a Bulldogs swimmer, Conci set numerous school records and was a state champion in her senior year.

The Mountain West Conference swimming championships Feb. 23 through 26 in Oklahoma City, Okla., was no exception for the University of Wyoming junior.

Conci placed in the top seven in all her events, including a MWC title in the 100-yard backstroke.

The day after, Feb. 27, Conci again qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympic Trials in June 2012 in Omaha, Neb., by swimming a 1:03.15 in the 100-meter backstroke.

Her time narrowly beat the qualifying time of 1:03.99.

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"I'm not hanging my head at all after that weekend because I am really happy about all my swims," Conci said. "I feel I did super well as my goal going in to the championship meet was to place in the top three in my individual events and I did that in two out of the three."

Along with the 100-yard backstroke, Conci also swam the 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay, and 400-yard freestyle relay at the MWC championship meet.

Conci said she swam her best times in all of her events over the weekend.

Her time of 52.54 in the 100-yard backstroke leg of the 400-yard medley relay was a MWC championship meet record as well as an all-time MWC record.

All seven of Conci's performances at the MWC championship meet earned her a spot on the all-conference team.

Because her performances in the 100-yard backstroke at the MWC championship meet weren't in a long course pool, 50 meters instead of 25 yards, they were not counted toward the Olympic trial times.

Conci said her training has really paid off in her third year.

"Coming into this year, I thought I had a good chance to make the NCAA championship meet," she said. "I really started going hard in August and I think I was able to make every part of my technique better."

Conci qualified for the NCAA swimming championship meet March 17, 18 and 19 in Austin, Texas, in all three of her individual events.

In the 100-yard backstroke, the 2008 MCHS grad will enter the meet ranked 10th in the nation.

"I never expected to be that high in any event," Conci said. "This will be the biggest event I have ever been to and I think it is a huge accomplishment."

When Conci first arrived at Wyoming as a freshman, she said it was overwhelming.

"In my first year, I felt like an underdog and didn't expect to do a lot," she said. "But, each year I have gotten better, I set my goals a little higher and I did whatever I could do to improve."

Over Labor Day, Conci learned from her coach she had qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle during a meet in July.

Much like her 100-meter backstroke time, Conci cut it close, swimming a 26.37, just under the Olympic qualifying time of 26.39.

"I really wanted to get this time and everyone from Wyoming knew I wanted to get it," Conci said of her 100-meter backstroke time. "It was weird at first, but I couldn't be happier."

As she prepares for the NCAA swimming championship meet in just over two weeks, Conci said there is always room for improvement.

"This week I got back in the water and I am swimming three more miles than I was before," she said. "I am going to work on getting back in shape and getting my strength back."

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Kelsey Conci’s results from the 2011 Mountain West Conference swimming championships Feb. 23 to 26:

(Event — time — place)

• 100-yard backstroke — 53.27 — 1

• 200-yard medley relay — 1:39.62 — 1

• 400-yard medley relay — 3:38.62 — 2

• 100-yard freestyle — 50.00 — 3

• 200-yard freestyle relay — 1:31.37 — 3

• 400-yard freestyle relay — 3:21.03 — 4

• 50-yard freestyle — 22.94 — 7

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