Moffat County swimmers speeding to success with larger team | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County swimmers speeding to success with larger team

Too many people in a swimming pool can be a safety hazard, but as long as his team has room to maneuver, coach Jeff Wert's position is "the more the merrier."

The Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School girls swim team has an abundance of competitors as the season begins, and the extra numbers can only be a good thing. girls swim team has an abundance of competitors as the season begins, and the extra numbers can only be a good thing.

Moffat County High School girls swim team has an abundance of competitors as the season begins, and the extra numbers can only be a good thing.

With about 20 girls in the water, the representation is much better than this time last season, said Wert.

"It's great compared to about eight last year," he said. "We'll have a lot more relays, a lot more points, some great senior leadership and a lot of younger girls, too."

With seven seniors out this year, the total is balanced by upperclassmen of varying skill levels and freshmen, sophomores and juniors who already have a lot of swim experience, whether at MCHS or in summer programs like Craig Sea Sharks that form a foundation for later years.

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Wert, in his second year coaching at MCHS, said the smaller turnout was a hindrance at times in his first season, but with the potential for more individual and group entries in races, the program could be entirely different this winter.

"We can really be a competitor in the Western Slope now," he said. "I know the philosophy out here now, the events, referees, other coaches, and I have more confidence to really concentrate on the younger swimmers and the experienced ones."

Wert's assistant coach, Heather Blakley, joined the program just this year. Besides competing at the college level herself, she coached for programs that sent young athletes as far as the Olympic trials.

"They've definitely progressed a lot faster than most teams that I've worked with that are pretty new," Blakley said of some of the Bulldog novices. "We're working on a lot of technique, endurance, things like that."

Selene Singleton and Allie Dilldine said Wert and Blakley are strict but knowledgeable in helping them reach their best. The two are seniors who have spent many of the cold months in Northwest Colorado in the lanes of the pool.

Dilldine said she plans to compete in the backstroke, freestyle and individual medley, likely joining more as the season continues. Hitting a specific time isn't on her mind so much as all-around improvement in her method.

"I just want to improve my times because I've kind of been in a standstill spot for a couple years and I'm really looking to cut it more this year and get our teams closer to state," she said.

Singleton likewise will be taking on a plethora of events in the following months, focusing on small tweaks here and there to be more effective overall.

"I want to beat my personal records and make my strokes better," she said. "That's all you can really do in swimming."

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

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