Moffat County swimmers diving headlong into season with different feel but same team spirit
Moffat County High School girls swimming 2018-19 schedule
Though back in the spring it may have looked like the Moffat County High School aquatics program had dried up for the coming years, Bulldog swimmers are going forward nonetheless this winter.
Head coach: Meghan Francone
As head of the MCHS girls swim scene for eight of the last 10 years, Francone said she is overjoyed to be able to coach for another season even with some considerable changes in the past school year.
The Moffat County School District Board of Education announced in February that it planned to shut down the MCHS pool at the end of the 2017-18 school year due to maintenance issues, a decision that devastated both the Bulldog girls and boys teams and coaches.
Still, they didn’t let the sport drown, with arrangements quickly made to find another space to swim. Another indoor pool in Craig remains an ongoing project, but for now, Moffat County swimmers travel multiple times per week to Meeker to hit the water. Their additional workout consists of aerobic and core exercises while at MCHS, as as well as perfecting motions that they use in competition.
“We are thrilled to be able to collaborate with Meeker to have water three times a week, and our water times have been great,” Francone said. “The stuff we’re doing for dryland is proven for swimmers to enhance what we do in the water. They very much work together.”
The past year saw Lady Bulldogs make a splash to say the least. Swimmers peaked at just the right time as they recorded one state-qualifying time after another during the Southwestern Conference League Championships in February, 10th among teams at the regional meet.
Altogether, the squad made it to state in the 100-yard backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle relay. The relay finish put them at 20th in preliminaries with 26th in IM, 25th in breast and 28th in back.
2018-19 seniors: Alyssa Chavez, Molly Neton, Katelynn Turner
After hitting their stride during junior year, the three seniors are looking for more success to round out their high school careers.
Alyssa Chavez — Chavez served as a crucial part of the 400 free relay at last year’s conference championships, diving in first to lead the charge in a longer race in which the Bulldogs had not yet attempted during the season, placing 13th in the finals, a full 15 seconds faster than their prelim time. She went on to attend state as an alternate.
Molly Neton — Molly’s win in the 100 butterfly race at the Summit Invite began 2018 the right way as the season continued after the holiday break, and she continued bringing her individual times down in the weeks to come before hitting her state mark in the backstroke, the Lady Dogs’ lowest time in the race. She also held the team’s fastest times in the 50 and 100 free.
Katelynn Turner — Turner was right behind Molly, sometimes by a fraction of a second, in the freestyle events and the two also served on the state-competing 200 relay team. Turner was also the leader for the 200 medley relay at the conference meet, with the group just two seconds short of state, placing 13th.
Key returners: Allison Jacobson, Ellina Jones, Jeni Kincher, Kelsey McDiffett, Alexa Neton
Allison Jacobson — During her freshman year, Jacobson had her best individual results in the 100 back, in which she excelled during the league meet. She also was a reliable competitor in the backup relays throughout the season.
Ellina Jones — Jones joined Chavez in the 400 relay at the league event and was a regular facet of relay teams throughout the season. In individual races, she trimmed nearly 10 seconds off her best time in the 200 IM at the conference championships.
Jeni Kincher — Kincher, a state alternate last year, competes with Moffat County girls out of Meeker, and after traveling to Craig in past seasons, she may have the advantage in practice time this winter. She and Tayla Siminoe made up the last two legs of the 400 relay. Kincher’s best time in the 50 free also put her third behind Molly Neton and Turner.
Kelsey McDiffett — Out of all the state qualifiers, McDiffett was the busiest in the Bulldogs’ final meet, swimming the 200 free relay as well as the 100 breast and 200 IM, both of which she led the team in last year, as well as the 100 fly. Her trip to state for swimming was one of three during her freshman year, in addition to cross country and track and field, and she’ll be looking for another trifecta this year.
Alexa Neton — Alexa was the anchor of the state relay team and also joined her older sister, McDiffett and Turner in the medley relay at the league meet. The conference championships also saw her edge past Molly’s best time in the 200 free race, in which she led the team rankings for the season. Though she wasn’t the only Bulldog to compete in the lengthy 500 free during the year, she was by far the fastest, 50 seconds in front of her nearest teammate.
MCHS girls will dip their toes in the water at two matches this weekend as they hit the pool Friday in Delta, followed by league relays Saturday at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
The following weekends they’ll travel to Glenwood Springs and Montrose to round out the calendar year.
Though Moffat County swimming will be unable to host a home meet, Francone and her athletes are choosing to focus on the months ahead.
“These girls are extremely dedicated, they give it their all,” she said.