A leg up on the competition | CraigDailyPress.com

A leg up on the competition

Non-state qualifiers enjoy taper week in the pool

Jessica Knez and Jessica Krogman know that their best times are more than a minute from state-qualifying standards, but the Moffat County swimmers were training this week as if they were preparing for the state meet.

“We really want to finish off strong,” Knez said. “We know this is our last meet.”

Today, the Western Slope Championships started in Durango. Knez and Krogman are two of the Bulldogs’ 10 swimmers who are going to finish their season at the meet.

“For the girls who aren’t going to go to state, this was their week to taper,” coach Jen Zimmerman said. “They’ve been having fun and getting ready for their best meet of the year.”

The Bulldogs have four swimmers who have already qualified for the state meet, which follows the WSC’s next week. Those swimmers were still working from 3:30 to 5 p.m. every night in practice. The other 10 girls were spending time meditating, swimming lightly and wearing nylons in the pool.

“We decrease their work by quite a bit,” Zimmerman said. “The nylons are something I use to help them feel faster when they get to shave their legs on Friday.”

Most of the swimmers refrain from shaving their legs during the swim season until their last meet.

“They’re looking forward to the shaving party Friday,” said Zimmerman on Thursday.

While the majority of the Bulldog team won’t make an impact at the state meet, they do figure into the scoring at the Western Slopes.

Krogman and Knez became the Bulldogs’ distance specialists during the middle of the season. They have averaged a 15-second improvement every meet.

“Jen encouraged us to try every event at least once,” Knez said. “Then the 500 sort of stuck.”

Zimmerman said she thought both of the 500 swimmers could make it into the finals to score points for the Bulldogs.

Moffat has qualified all three relay teams (200 freestyle, 200 medley, 400 freestyle) for the state meet and those teams have top-five potential at the Western Slopes. The swimmers who peaked this week will provide a second relay team for each event.

“The depth of our second relays helps us with scoring,” Zimmerman said. “I think they expect to shine.”

Another event that the Bulldogs have depth in is the 100 breaststroke. Katherine Dodd and Knez could both contribute points by making it into the consolation finals.

There are also some state-qualifying possibilities remaining for the girls. Senior Ashleigh McDonald is three seconds from qualifying in the 100 breaststroke.

Meghan Innes needs to swim a 28.5 second split in the 50 freestyle to become a member of the 200-freestyle relay team at state.

“We really hope to see those two make it,” Zimmerman said. “They’re so close.”

The preliminary rounds of the Western Slopes begin today at 4 p.m. The finals will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday.

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