Craig Sea Sharks state their business, take 3rd at seasonal championships
More than 800 miles round-trip, 7,875 yards in the water in competition throughout 60 total races. When you look at the numbers, the last event of the summer was a big one for Craig Sea Sharks and hopefully not their final time together.
The Craig swim team performed more than adequately, as well as aquatically, at the Seasonal Club State Championships Aug. 4 to 6 in Lamar.
The Eastern Colorado locale meant the group fielded a smaller roster than usual, with numerous qualifying athletes unable to attend, but the 10 Craig kids who could make the trip made it count, placing third overall among teams in the medium division.
“Everyone cut time in at least one event, and most of them cut it in every one,” said head coach Meghan Francone. “Copious amounts of time. Some really strong swimmers in Moffat County and Craig, and people should be really proud of what we’ve produced here.”
Though Sea Sharks didn’t claim any gold medals during the event, they brought in plenty of precious metals with six silver and nine bronze.
In the boys 9- and 10-year-old age division, Travis LeFevre placed second in the 50- and 100-yard backstroke races, while Molly Neton was runner-up for girls 15 to 18 in the 100 and 200 back, as well as third in the 400 individual medley.
Kelsey McDiffett took second in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle among girls 13 to 14. She also placed third in five individual events: 100 back, 100 butterfly, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 IM.
McDiffett and Molly Neton also joined Alexa Neton and Katelynn Turner for third in the girls 9 to 18 200 free relay, as well as fourth in the 200 medley.
The foursome of Travis LeFevre, Nathan LeFevre, Patrick Neton and Eli Francone hit third-place in dual relays, the 200 free and 200 medley for boys 7 to 10.
As the lone swimmers in the mid-range age group of 11 to 12 and therefore no relays, Hudson Jones and Megan Neton nonetheless had plenty of time in the pool, Jones taking his best with seventh in the 50 fly and Megan 13th in the 100 fly.
Sea Sharks will call it a year for this summer after state, but it remains unclear whether or not the program will be back next year.
With city budget concerns looming, the Craig Pool Complex is among the facilities that could see closure, as indicated by recent city council meetings, which coaches and athletes attended Aug. 8.
The team could be shut down altogether with a closure, and Francone said it would be a shame to see one less option for children and parents.
“The great pool we have here in Craig is a wonderful venue to teach out kids to swim,” she said. “Not only that, it’s a safety concern, because we’re surrounded by bodies of water — the river, lakes, they’re things that attract tourists here, and we live amongst these things.”
She added that numerous athletes got their start at the Craig pool and Sea Sharks.
“We’ve sent them to college, one to the Olympics, some to Olympic trials,” she said. “It’s a wonderful asset that keeps our kids competitively driven and keeps kids from doing things they don’t need to be doing. It’s a great area for our kids, and I really hope we can keep it.”
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