Moffat County swimmer Cody Evaristo keeps kicking to compete in state backstroke race
With several hours of prep time for just one minute worth of competition, would Moffat County High School’s Cody Evaristo say his time at the 4A CHSAA State Championships was worth the trip?
Evaristo placed at No. 47 during Friday’s preliminary round of the 100-yard backstroke, a race that went by quickly despite a lengthy lead-up at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.
Evaristo clocked in at one minute, 2.24 seconds, just under a half-second past the 1:01.77 that earned him a spot at state.
Coach Meghan Francone said though the young swimmer was aiming to break one minute flat, a few hitches in his form were noticeable, including a brief loss of momentum during his second lap.
“During warmups, we were working on his streamline and tempo,” she said. “His head wasn’t quite where it needed to be in the water, but we got that fixed.”
Still, the six-foot, five-inch aqua athlete hopped out of the pool with a smile on his face, and after his cool-down in the practice pool, he suited up — complete with a red baseball cap adorned with a black Superman crest — to greet his coach and manager Katelynn Turner.
“It was definitely a long wait to get started, but that was actually nice because I could watch all the people doing backstroke and see how they competed and watched them warm up,” he said. “It helped just seeing how they acted in the water.”
It’s the second consecutive year Evaristo has been in the backstroke at state, though the first time he’s gone to the meet as the solo Bulldog swimmer. With only four members of the boys swim team this season, that number could be half that by the 2020 season with David Prescott and Nathan Cooper graduating, leaving only Evaristo and Meeker’s Chayton Owens.
Evaristo said he hopes to recruit more talent for next spring, though he credited Francone with keeping athletes focused without a home pool in Craig and travel to Meeker for practice time.
“I was really thankful for her coaching skills, because she taught us to be grateful for what we have even without our own pool,” he said. “Either way, she made us work our hardest.”
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.