Swimmers finish fourth in relays | CraigDailyPress.com

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Swimmers finish fourth in relays

By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
It’s good to get back on the horse again.
Or at least those were coach Ed Stehlin’s sentiments, the week after his swim team survived a potentially deadly bus accident.
On Dec. 1, the Moffat County swim team’s bus rolled onto its side on State Highway 13, en route to Montrose for its opening meet.
None of the swimmers sustained a serious injury, but a few were hurt enough to be withheld from Saturday’s Grand Junction Relays.
One such swimmer is freshman Heather Whiting, who was looking for an early-season state qualification time in Montrose.
Although Whiting missed the Grand Junction Relays, she sees her team’s effort to come back as an important one.
“It shows as a team that we aren’t going to let any setback stand in the way of our goals,” she said. “It’s really a great effort.”
The Lady Bulldogs sent swimmers to fill every relay, although some were backups for girls who were hurt in the accident, or were switched to relays they don’t usually swim.
Of the eleven teams in attendance, Moffat County finished fourth, and had seven relays finish in the top five or better.
“It’s just good we got back on the bus, and made it to the next race. That was a big step for the team,” Stehlin said. “There was a lot of excitement when we passed the place where we crashed. All the girls were hooting and hollering, and the bus driver was honking the horn so I think we’re pretty much over the whole crash thing.”
The team may be over their recent tumble off the road, but more surprising is how well they raced, Stehlin said.
He admitted that he had to go through three revisions of different relay teams because of the hurt girls, and didn’t expect many high places.
“The main reason why we went to Grand Junction was to get some starts, and to get some splashes,” Stehlin said. “The fact that we showed up was big, but the way we finished was surprising.”
The relay team that finished up with the best place was the 200 breaststroke relay of Cara Conci, Jessica Herrera, Kallie Murphy and Jada Hastings.
The team finished in second place with a time of 2:33.7.
“If we could have had Heather Whiting on the relay we would have won it, but it’s a good finish for a first race,” Stehlin said.
Along with the seven relay teams who placed, four divers went to Grand Junction, and all four were in the top 10.
Competing as two-person teams Amanda Vaughn and Kristen Whinery placed sixth, and Aubrey Ripkoski and Janie Dunkley finished 10th.
The Lady Bulldogs will not travel their entire squad this Saturday to the Colorado Invitational, because of the selectivity of the meet.
The team will travel seven swimmers: Heather Whiting, Kallie Murphy, Jessica Herrera, Chloe Gilchrist, Nicole Vorhies and Miranda Hillewaert.
The meet was touted by Stehlin as being harder than state, because schools compete regardless of class size.
The quality that the invitational presents holds positives for the Lady ‘Dogs, because the higher quality of swimmers equated to higher quality times,” Stehlin said.
The Colorado Invitational is held at the Epic Pool in Fort Collins.