Moffat County swimmers dive right into season with state times at 1st meet | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County swimmers dive right into season with state times at 1st meet

From left, Moffat County High School swimmers Brooks Birkinbine, Cody Evaristo, Jacob Briggs and Nathan Cooper gather in the shallow end of the Montrose pool. The four guaranteed a spot at the 4A state meet in the 200-yard medley relay. Birkinbine, from Steamboat Springs, also qualified in the 200 freestyle.

While the future of the Moffat County High School swimming pool may look bleak, the athletes who use it most already have a bright spot reserved for later this spring.

MCHS boys swimming wasted no time in qualifying for the 4A State Championships, achieving state-qualifying results in two races Friday during the two-day Montrose Invitational.

The 200-yard medley relay team of Cody Evaristo, Jacob Briggs, Nathan Cooper and Steamboat Springs’ Brooks Birkinbine placed fifth of 14 teams with a time of 1:54.91, well past the 1:57.50 to go to state.

Birkinbine also qualified for state individually, fourth in the 200 freestyle event at 1:59.24.

Briggs was right on the cusp in the 100 free, clocking in at 54.79 seconds to also place fifth, as well as taking seventh in 200 free, 2:03.04.

Birkinbine is also close in the 100 breaststroke, placing sixth at 1:12.01.

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Cooper took 13th in the breast and 17th in the 100 free.

In the 400 free relay, Evaristo, Birkinbine, Briggs and Cooper hit ninth at 3:59.39. In the same race, Brandon Beason, Marcus Delgado, Trevor Hume and David Prescott were 14th.

Ethan Powers joined Prescott, Delgado, and Beason in the 200 medley, also 14th.

Delgado, Beason, Prescott, Powers and Hume all swam the 100 free, placing 27th, 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd, respectively.

Saturday saw the Bulldogs take more solid finishes, including Birkinbine fifth in the 500 free at 5:36.93.

Briggs earned seventh in the 100 backstroke (1:06.24), followed by Evaristo in eighth (1:06.32), Prescott 19th, Beason 20th, Hume 21st and Powers 22nd.

Briggs was also eighth (1:09.42) in the 100 butterfly with Cooper 11th (1:23.54).

The 200 free relay group of Briggs, Cooper, Evaristo and Birkinbine was less than one second from state qualification at 1:43.42, placing sixth. Powers, Beason, Prescott and Hume took 14th at 2:11.06.

Prescott had the best time in the 50 free, 28.91, for 16th, with Powers, Beason and Hume 22, 24 and 26.

Coach Meghan Francone noted the variety of experience in the team’s lineup this season as aqua athletes continue to hone their performances.

“We’ve got some who had never touched water, some who are returning after a few years and a few who absolutely live in the water,” she said. “We’ve got the whole spectrum, and we’re really excited to see what they can do.”

MCHS swimmers will next attend the Colorado Mesa University Relays this weekend.