Moffat County aquatics roster swells as swimmers face new season
The Moffat County High School swimming program has seen its fair share of changes in recent years, but even with different arrangements in practicing and leadership, it’s smooth waters ahead this winter.
MCHS girls dive in for the season starting this weekend in Glenwood Springs as Bulldog aqua athletes ready their racing mindset.
They’ll be in the pool under a different head of the program, though hardly an unfamiliar one.
Longtime swim coach Meghan Francone resigned in September to focus on her family and career steps, with Melany Neton taking on the mantle shortly afterward.
Neton, a Sunset Elementary School teacher, co-coached with Francone from 2016 to 2018 and also has many years experience with the summertime program Craig Sea Sharks.
“The team is very diversified this year with girls who have swum for many years in Sea Sharks and some who are in there for the first time,” she said.
Neton’s daughter, Alexa, and Kelsey McDiffett are two of the top returners. Both juniors, they have competed at state both years so far at MCHS, notably in relays with recent graduates Molly Neton and Katelynn Turner.
Last season saw the two in individual events as well, with McDiffett in both the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley and Alexa in the 200 freestyle.
“We’re really looking for them come back in both of those,” Neton said.
Jeni Kincher, Ellina Jones and Anna Cooper also return after swimming at state, forming the 400 free relay team along with then-senior Alyssa Chavez in February.
Kincher is a senior who competes with Moffat County out of Meeker, which is where the Bulldogs host the majority of their practices at the town’s recreation center following the MCHS pool closure in 2018.
“They’re used to the travel by now,” Neton said.
She also noted that the team has been able to utilize a pool in Craig occasionally, courtesy of Miranda and Mark Carlson.
“They’ve graciously allowed us to use it,” she said.
Last season saw the team working on dryland technique on the MoCo campus to supplement their swim time, though Neton has preferred to keep the squad primarily in the water.
“Anytime they can practice in the water, it’s so beneficial,” she said. “Dryland has its purpose and it’s good, but that time in the water is so important for swimmers. Some of the girls do CrossFit outside of practices and they have their physical education classes too.”
Mackenzie Anderson and Allison Jacobson also return from last season, while new to the team are Sarah Johnson, Eliana Mack, AJ Calara, Grisel Moriel, Kate Lockwood, Cristiann Reyes and Alexei Reyes.
“They’re all pushing through and working really hard,” Neton said.
Though the swimming program has been beset by obstacles perhaps more than any other Bulldog athletic group in recent years, Neton said she’s pleased it’s going strong.
“I enjoy watching these girls swim, and I am very grateful to the administrators to let us travel and still have a school-sponsored team,” she said.
Dec. 7 — Glenwood
Dec. 13, 14 — Grand Junction
Dec. 20 — Montrose
Jan. 10, 11 — Montrose
Jan. 18 — Glenwood
Jan. 24 — Gunnison
Jan. 25 — Delta
Feb. 7, 8 — Southwestern Conference Championships
Feb. 13 to 15 — CHSAA State Championships