Sea Sharks swim in home waters |

Sea Sharks swim in home waters

Elwood Shelton

Since the beginning of the season, Hollie Haskins, Camie Hillewaert and their Sea Sharks swim team has been plagued with middle-of-the-pack placing and low race turnouts.

That is until last Saturday and Sunday.

At the Rifle Rapids Invitational, the Sea Sharks swam to a second-place team finish, and had two high-point leaders in Nathan Chapman in the 8-and under division and Chloe Gilchrist in the 15-to 18 year old group.

“We’ve just have had trouble getting kids at the meets, and when you don’t have the numbers, you don’t place well,” Haskins said. “At Rifle, we had a really good showing with around 40 kids showing up. The turnout should actually be bigger this week since it’s our first home meet.”

The Sea Sharks will host their first meet on Saturday and Sunday at the Craig City Park pool, where they have been practicing since the beginning of the month.

Being a qualifying meet, the coaches will not only see an increase in Sea Sharks, but in the quality of competition as well.

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Known as an ABC meet, the Craig Invitational works to qualify swimmers in three different levels. The A-level is a Junior Olympic qualifier, the B-level is a Western Slope qualifier and the C-level is a non-qualifier.

Each level has a minimum time that is necessary to enter these qualification races.

“The system’s good, since it puts swimmers of roughly the same skill level in the same races,” said Beth Gilchrist, meet organizer and mother of Chloe Gilchrist. “Before the ABC system was adopted, the different qualification meets were held in different cities, which made it almost impossible for kids to make it to them.”

The ABC system has been in use for the last eight years, and has increased swim meet turnout immensely.

Along with the ABC system, the Seasonal Club State Championship will be the other draw for the racers come Saturday and Sunday. The State Championship will be held at the City Park pool later this summer.

“There are teams such as the Woodman Waves, who are coming here to race just to check out the pool for the state meet,” Gilchrist said. “Even though will have around 350 swimmer at this meet, it’s still down from years past.”

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