Sea Sharks continue season progress |

Sea Sharks continue season progress

Elwood Shelton

Although it served as a qualifier for five post-season swim meets, the Sea Sharks ABC Open was held more for the chance to compete and improve times.

Unlike a typical summer club meet, where only the top-12 finishers are awarded ribbons, an ABC meet awards 36 places.

The ABC Open is able to do this because organizers split swimmers into three, different groups based upon their times.

“It’s an extremely, popular meet because it gives some of the kids who wouldn’t normally place a chance,” ABC Open Organizer Beth Gilchrist said.

The size of the ABC Open field prevents team scoring, as this year’s event drew 349 swimmers for the Saturday and Sunday meet at the Craig City Park pool. Though that may seem like a large number of swimmers, this number is actually down from last year’s 400-plus participants.

The inability to place as a team didn’t mean the Sea Sharks would loosen up after a second-place finish at the Rifle Invitational the week before.

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In fact, most of the Sea Sharks improved their times, which according to the coaches, has become a common theme for the swimmers.

“We saw most kids drop in the 4- to 5-second range,” Sea Sharks coach Hollie Haskins said. “But, we had some kids drop their times even more up to fifty seconds more.”

Along with seeing improvement in nearly all of the team’s swimmers, the Sharks also saw a few more qualify for one of the five end-of-season meets.

There has yet to be a qualifier for the Junior Olympics, despite qualifying swimmers for Silver State, Summer Club and Western Slope meets. Eighty-one team members have already qualified for the three meets, which is nearly the whole team.

“Most of the kids who have qualified now will be the ones we’ll have representing the team at the end of the year,” Gilchrist said. “We have only one meet left in the regular season at Meeker, and most of the qualifications that we’ll see there will be the ones who have already made post-season meets, and are trying to qualify for more events.”

The Meeker meet, known as the Fin-ally, will be held Saturday and Sunday, leaving a week-long gap before any of the post-season meets are held. It will be two weeks before Craig hosts the Summer Club State Championships, and it will be the first time the event is held here.

Over the next two weeks, most of the qualifiers will remain staunch in attending the morning practices, but there will also be an element of rest utilized as well.

“Our practices will remain basically the same going into the post-season meets, but since there will be no more races on the weekends after Meeker, the kids will get a chance to re-energize,” Haskins said.

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