Moffat County swimmers end Montrose Invite with state qualifier, JV winner in breaststroke races |

Moffat County swimmers end Montrose Invite with state qualifier, JV winner in breaststroke races

Moffat County High School's Kelsey McDiffett swims the breaststroke in the 200 IM at the Southwest Conference Championships.
Andy Bockelman

Moffat County High School swimmers didn’t waste any time in their return from winter break in hitting a new level of competition.

MCHS gained a berth in February’s 3A state championships during the preliminary round of the Montrose Invitational, as Kelsey McDiffett cut her time in the 100-yard breaststroke to secure a spot at state for the third consecutive year.

McDiffett placed seventh in the first round race Friday, getting her results down to 1:20.28 to beat the 1:20.5 to get to state.

The prelims for Bulldog swimmers saw plenty of qualifiers for the Saturday finals of the two-day invite, including the 200 freestyle relay team of McDiffett, Alexa Neton, Jeni Kincher and Ellina Jones, who took fifth to progress to finals.

“We are making some minor adjustments for tomorrow and hopefully they will get it,” coach Melany Neton said Friday night.

The group didn’t quite make state, but they were certainly speedier Saturday, moving up in the rankings to place fourth at a new season best of 1:56.74, now less than one second from qualifying.

McDiffett also lessened her best time in the varsity breast, placing sixth in the finals at 1:19.72 and cutting more than a half-second.

However, in the JV breastroke, Kate Lockwood had the team’s best placement of the weekend, winning it outright at 1:29.28.

Altogether, the varsity group placed sixth among nine teams — including infrequent competitors Sargent and Pagosa Springs — while JV was eighth of nine.

“Everyone cut time and swam their best on the second day of the meet,” Neton said.

The varsity 200 medley relay took nearly two seconds off their best in the finals, ranking ninth at 2:16.9.

Alexa Neton placed seventh in the 200 free solo and ninth in the 100 backstroke, making significant time drops from day to day in each, while McDiffett ranked sixth in the 200 individual medley, less than .5 seconds from state in the IM at 2:36.42.

Allison Jacobson was close behind in the varsity IM at 11th.

Jones had her best placement in the 100 free prelims at 10th, trimming exactly two seconds from her previous best.

Kincher likewise had her best placement at 12th in the 100 free prelims, later finishing 13th in the finals, as well as taking 14th in the 50 free.

In the JV 50 free, Eliana Mack took eighth, while Lockwood dropped more than seven seconds in the JV backstroke prelims, where she placed third, though she ultimately didn’t go into the finals for the race.

Besides being close behind Lockwood in the JV breast finals — where she placed fourth in prelims — Sarah Johnson led off the secondary varsity 200 free relay, with she, Lockwood, Jacobson and Mackenzie Anderson gaining 12th in the finals, cutting an extra .48 seconds from the 10 they dropped in prelims.

In JV relays, Cristiann Reyes, Lockwood, Anderson and new swimmer Tiana Nichols earned fifth in the 200 medley finals, and Mack, Nichols, Alexei Reyes and Cristiann Reyes finished 13th in the 200 free prelims.

Swimmers will next compete Jan. 18 in Glenwood Springs.

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