Craig swimmers moving on to league and state championships |

Craig swimmers moving on to league and state championships

Nate Waggenspack

Eryn Leonard, 17, swims freestyle over the weekend at the Craig ABC Open. Leonard, who will be a senior at Moffat County High School, won eight events for the Craig Sea Sharks, who hosted the meet at the Craig Swimming Complex, 605 Washington St.

The Craig Sea Sharks hosted the ABC Open swim meet over the weekend at the Craig Swimming Complex, where several swimmers qualified to move on to state.

In the swim team's final tune-up meet before the Western Slope League Championships, the Sea Sharks had swimmers swim qualifying times for the WSL meet 55 times. Of those 55 qualifiers, 34 were fast enough to qualifying for the seasonal state championships at the beginning of August.

It all meant a very successful weekend for Craig swimmers.

"When we were giving out awards after the meet, the bag I had was heavy," Sea Sharks coach Meghan Francone said. "We had a ton of trophies, a ton of medals."

On Friday the meet got underway with the eight and under age groups swimming all their events.

Eight-year-old Anna Cooper got the Sea Sharks off to a hot start, qualifying for the state in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle.

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Francone was proud of another of her younger swimmings, six-year-old Britta Henderson, for a different type of accomplishment.

"At the beginning of the year Britta was afraid to get in the pool at meets," Francone said. "So to go from scared to qualifying for Western Slopes is just a huge jump for her."

Saturday and Sunday featured the events for the rest of the age groups, and that meant more strong performances from the host team. Burke Henderson, 10, won eight events in the girls 9-10 division, qualifying for state in each as well.

The Sea Sharks had strong individual performances across the board in the older age groups, with Eryn Leonard, 17, and Katelyn Olson, 15, placing first and second in seven events in the girls 15 and over age group. Amy Olson, 13, and Jaci McDiffett, 12, met WSL and state standards in several races.

Matt Hulstine, 18, dominated his events in the boys 15 and over age group, while Colby Beckett, 12, and Breck Henderson, 12, each qualified for WSL and state in the boys 11-12 division.

All in all, the Sea Sharks had 11 swimmers qualify for the state meet and 14 for the WSL.

Aside from the results in the swimming pool, the ABC Open provided a light and enjoyable atmosphere for the home team as well as the visitors. Music played during much of the meet, and after the festivities finished Sunday, many Sea Sharks stuck around to dance to the YMCA and do the Macarena.

"It's fun having the meet at our pool," said Alexa Neton, 9, of the Sea Sharks. "We get pizza after."

Francone echoed her young swimmer's sentiment, saying the goal is to have a well organized meet, but to also have fun.

"Craig is a fun meet. A lot of kudos go to our swimming board," Francone said. "They really have their acts together, they've done it before. The athletes are not able to compete at their best if the meets aren't organized, and ours was."

The Sea Sharks compete next at the WSL Championships July 20-22.

For full results from the ABC Open, visit

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At a glance …

Craig Sea Sharks who qualified for seasonal state meet at ABC Open over the weekend in Craig:

(Name, age)

Anna Cooper, 8

Burke Henderson, 10

Molly Neton, 11

Jaci McDiffett, 12

Breck Henderson, 12

Colbey Beckett, 12

Amy Olson, 13

Katelyn Olson, 15

Ashlee Griffiths, 15

Eryn Leonard, 17

Matt Hulstine, 18


“Craig is a fun meet. A lot of kudos go to our swimming board. They really have their acts together, they’ve done it before. The athletes are not able to compete at their best if the meets aren’t organized, and ours was.”

Meghan Francone, Sea Sharks coach, about the success of the Craig ABC Open