Heads above water: Moffat County swimmers end conference meet with 6 state slots | CraigDailyPress.com

Heads above water: Moffat County swimmers end conference meet with 6 state slots

Moffat County HIgh School's Anna Cooper competes in the butterfly portion of the 200-yard medley relay at the Southwest Conference Championships.
McKenzie Lange/Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

As the final opportunity to qualify, the last weekend before the state championships is regularly the time when Moffat County High School swimming sees its best results, and this year was no exception.

MCHS girls’ full team will journey to the 3A CHSAA State Championships after achieving qualification in six races, three of which came about during the Southwest Conference Championships in Grand Junction.

After a busy day during Friday preliminaries, the Bulldogs attained their sixth and final state standard at the end of the afternoon Saturday with the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Moffat County High School 400-yard freestyle relay team of Alexa Neton, Ellina Jones, Jeni Kincher and Kelsey McDiffett.
Andy Bockelman

After barely missing the 4:16 state mark during prelims, Ellina Jones, Jeni Kincher, Alexa Neton and Kelsey McDiffett held nothing back in the lengthy group event, placing 10th in finals and hitting their best time of the season at 4:12.42.

The Moffat County High School 200-yard medley relay team of Kelsey McDiffett, Ellina Jones, Alexa Neton and Anna Cooper.
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Following their state time Friday in the 200 medley relay, Jones, Neton, McDiffett and Anna Cooper brought down their time all the more in the finals at 2:08.53 to place 11th.

Moffat County High School girls swimming final state-qualifying races

Race — Swimmer(s), best time; meet first achieved

• 100 breaststroke — Kelsey McDiffett; 1:18.41; Montrose Invite
• 200 individual medley — Kelsey McDiffett, 2:30.05; Glenwood Springs Winter Demon Invite
• 500 freestyle — Alexa Neton, 6:11.36; Southwest Conference Championships
• 200 free relay — Ellina Jones/Jeni Kincher/Kelsey McDiffett/Alexa Neton, 1:54.33; Gunnison Invite
• 200 medley relay — Ellina Jones/Kelsey McDiffett/Anna Cooper/Alexa Neton, 2:08.53; Southwest Conference Championships
• 400 free relay — Ellina Jones/Jeni Kincher/Alexa Neton/Kelsey McDiffett, 4:12.42; Southwest Conference Championships

Neton made it to state in the 500 free Friday and was eyeing a return to the big time in the 200 free but just missed it at 2:17.3 and 10th place. Likewise, Jones was just a hair away from the state 100 backstroke race, ranked 13th at 1:11.83.

Moffat County HIgh School’s Ellina Jones competes in the backstroke portion of the 200-yard medley relay at the Southwest Conference Championships.
McKenzie Lange/Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

After hitting state times in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, McDiffett wrapped up Saturday her best times so far in both, taking the team’s best placement of the weekend with ninth in the IM, 11th in the breast.

Rounding out the finals was the 200 free team of Cooper, Allison Jacobson, Sarah Johnson and Kincher, bringing the secondary relay group’s best time down to 2:04.96, placing 15th with a cut of three seconds after prelims.

Bulldogs will travel to the 3A CHSAA State Championships Feb. 14 and 15 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic in Thornton.