Splashing toward state | CraigDailyPress.com

Splashing toward state

Rose Howe, Blue Print

In the past, the Moffat County High School boys’ swimming team has had only a small number of swimmers. This year’s 13 member team is the largest boys’ swim team MCHS has had in the past decade, and they have a potential for success. The group of 13 consists of five freshmen, four sophomores, one junior, and three seniors; all are prepared to work hard to achieve a successful season and secure spots at the state meet.

Coach Meghan Francone is especially looking forward to the season, and the new additions to the team. “I’m pretty excited to see so many new kids utilizing the pool,” she said. She is also excited about the progress the swimmers have already been making. “We have a lot of returning swimmers and a lot of beginners that have turned into competitive swimmers in just two weeks,” Francone said.

The first competition for the team was the relay meet in Grand Junction on March 12. The swimmers began their training less than two weeks before, so they did not have a lot of time to prepare themselves. Even without many hours of practice, the team was still able to perform remarkably well. The boys qualified two relay teams to state, and were close to qualifying a third. Senior Charlie Griffiths, sophomore Matt Hulstine, junior John Kirk,and freshman Colter Tegtman made up the qualifying 200-yard medley relay team. They completed the event with a time of 1:56.85, just 0.15 seconds under the 4A state qualifying time of 1:57.00. The other qualifying relay team was made up of Griffiths, Kirk, Hulstine, and Rangley senior Justin Prosser. They swam the 400-yard freestyle, and finished with a time of 3:47.52. The 4A state qualifying time for the event is 3:51.00.

For sophomore Zach Ahlmer, the first meet went well, although his relays did not post a qualifying time. “It was my first time doing backstroke,” he said. The meet has also given him some things to work on, such as flip-turns. “It’s hard to estimate where the wall is and where to turn,” Ahlmer said. This is Ahlmer’s first season, and he is looking forward to the weeks ahead. He hopes to have fun with the team as well as qualifying to the state meet. In order to make it there, he plans to, “work hard in practice and work on technique.”

This season is also a first for Tegtman and his fellow freshman, Dalton Kendall. “I swam in the past, and I wanted to get back into it,” Tegtman said. Kendall joined because he wanted to get into shape, and for other reasons as well. “It seemed like a fun thing to do since I like water,” he said. Although they had different motives for joining, they both share one ultimate goal for the season – to make it to state.

Matt Hulstine, a returning sophomore swimmer, has been swimming since he was little. “I’ve swum for eight years, which would be about since second grade,” Hulstine said. “I just like swimming,” he said. “I wouldn’t think about leaving.” He likes it because it is a way to wind down after school and it is a workout for the entire body. Like his teammates, he hopes to make it to state this year and place well. Last year, Hulstine competed in the state meet and finished 15th in his event. His goal for this season is to swim in the top five in finals and for his relay teams to do well. In order to achieve those goals, he plans to improve on his pacing and keeping his technique up to par. Overall, Hulstine feels that the team will perform well this year. “I feel good about this season,” he said. “We have a strong team.”

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This year will be the fourth and final season of swimming for senior Charlie Griffiths. “[Swimming] is good exercise, tough practice, and good cross training for wrestling,” he said. He joins the team in their dream for state, although he would like to qualify for the meet in an individual event. After finishing the first meet, he believes he had some things to work on, but he also did some things well. “[I am] not going to change a lot,” Griffiths said, “I had good stroke technique, I just need to work on getting faster.” He is still optimistic about what opportunities this season will hold. “We’re going to send a lot of kids to state as individuals,” Griffiths said. “It’s going to be a really successful season. I’m looking forward to it.”

Coach Francone agrees. “We are going to be a team to watch,” she said.

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