Just keep swimming: Craig Sea Sharks speeding toward state | CraigDailyPress.com

Just keep swimming: Craig Sea Sharks speeding toward state

Coaches and athletes with Craig Sea Sharks gather early Wednesday around the water slide at Craig Pool Complex. The youth swim program will send 10 to state in Lamar this weekend: Molly Neton, Alexa Neton, Megan Neton, Patrick Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Katelynn Turner, Hudson Jones, Travis LeFevre, Nathan LeFevre and Eli Francone. Travis LeFevre also recently competed at a state-level meet in Fort Collins for competitors with Junior Olympics times.

The season is coming to a close, but the members of Craig Sea Sharks aren't out of the deep end yet.

The youth swim squad will attend the Seasonal State Championships this weekend in Lamar, sending 10 of their aquatic athletes to the event.

Among those headed to state with qualifying times in relay and individual events are Molly Neton, Alexa Neton, Megan Neton, Patrick Neton, Kelsey McDiffett, Katelynn Turner, Hudson Jones, Travis LeFevre, Nathan LeFevre and Eli Francone.

The group going to state is only part of the team that posted worthy times, said head coach Meghan Francone, though numerous swimmers will be unable to make it due to the lengthy excursion across the state.

“It’s quite a long road trip for just a few events, so we’ve got a few that are willing to go the distance and make that drive. They’ve all worked really hard and cut times this summer.”-Meghan Francone,Craig Sea Sharks coach

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"It's quite a long road trip for just a few events, so we've got a few that are willing to go the distance and make that drive," she said. "They've all worked really hard and cut times this summer."

Francone noted that athletes of all ages are showing promise between those who compete in the summer and winter, as well as the younger ones already showing themselves to be lightning fast in the pool.

Case in point — 10-year-old Travis LeFevre, for whom this will be the second state level meet in as many weeks.

He spent the past weekend competing at Colorado Swimming Age Group Long Course State in Fort Collins, an elite meet that requires Junior Olympics time standards.

He swam in six total races: the 50-meter freestyle, 50 backstroke, 100 back, 100 free, 200 free and 200 individual medley.

"I like backstroke the best," he said, noting that the longest races will be some of the toughest this weekend. "It's been a really good season this year."

Travis will be joining younger brother Nathan, Eli Francone and Patrick Neton in relay events this weekend, and the foursome already has a goal in mind for Lamar.

"Fastest in Colorado!" they shouted together.

For some of the older swimmers, the state meet is one they've attended year after year, though competing in it is no less an honor.

"It's been a long time, but I'm looking forward to having a relay team," Molly Neton said, noting last year's lack of a girls relay. "I'm also looking forward to doing a lot of events. The 400 IM, that's the first time I'll be doing that one. We've been tapering so we have a lot more energy than we do at most meets."

While the Neton family across the board has spent the better part of the last decade in Sea Sharks, Turner only recently got serious about the sport, joining the summer program and the team at Moffat County High School the past two years.

"I feel pretty good about it, I've trained hard with Molly the past year, and I've never been to state, so I'm excited," she said.

McDiffett said it's being out of the water as much as in it that she enjoys at this point.

"I'm excited to swim but also for the team dinners and to make memories," she said.