Kelsey McDiffett records new state time for Moffat County swimming | CraigDailyPress.com

Kelsey McDiffett records new state time for Moffat County swimming

Moffat County High School's Kelsey McDiffett competes in the breaststroke portion of the 200 medley relay at Glenwood Springs' Demon Meet.

Moffat County High School swimming wasted no time in the new year getting another athlete qualified for the state championships.

Kelsey McDiffett secured her spot at state next month during Saturday’s Grand Junction Invitational, placing sixth and coming in just under the wire in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1 minute, 20.45 seconds to meet the 1:20.5 3A state standard.

The time was her best of the season but not the lowest she’s ever hit in the race, in which she clocked in at 1:18.36 last season to move her way to state.

McDiffett also went to state in the 200 individual medley in 2018, and she may be well on her way to double duty at the big time again, finishing 10th Saturday in the IM with a new MoCo season-best of 2:39.08.

She had the best individual placement for the Bulldogs with her breaststroke and also swam the method in the 200 medley relay, which took sixth as well. McDiffett, Katelynn Turner, Molly Neton and Alexa Neton are within one second of state, posting a 2:10.53 Saturday.

The group got the team’s best ranking of the day at Grand Junction, earning fifth in the 400 free relay, a 4:17.42 getting them closer to the 4:16 needed for state.

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The same foursome also hit a state time in the 200 freestyle relay at Glenwood Springs, with Molly Neton making it to state in the 100 backstroke and 100 free in Montrose.

MCHS coach Meghan Francone said the entire team competed at their first meet in nearly a month with focus and drive, some even recovering from being sick during the winter break.

“They are swimming well and making good cuts despite some harder workouts both in and out of the pool this week,” she said.

Other Saturday highlights included Alexa Neton and Turner within a hair of each other in the 50 free, seventh and eighth, respectively, at 29.51 and 29.56. In the same race, freshmen Anna Cooper and Mackenzie Anderson placed 22 and 28.

“There is such positive competition amongst the girls which in the end makes them all better,” Francone said.

Alexa Neton also gained seventh in the length 500 free.

Meeker’s Jeni Kincher made her return to the pool with the Bulldogs, angling to join Molly Neton in the 100 free state race, leading the team in 16th Saturday, while Alyssa Chavez took 17th in the 200 free.

Kincher, Chavez, Allison Jacobson and Ellina Jones formed Moffat County’s relay team in the 200 free, taking 11th, and the secondary group in the 200 medley, gaining 10th.

Francone noted recent improvements by Jones have shown her to be more than capable of being a contender for state races.

“This group of girls is exceptional and makes me proud every day that I have the privilege to a coach for this district,” she said.