Moffat County swimmers go all out for state finals
In a year in which Moffat County High School girls swimming has managed to outdo themselves from a year hence in nearly every way, that trend continued right until the end.
MCHS swimmers finished 16th in the 200-yard medley relay during the final round of the 3A CHSAA State Championships Saturday in Fort Collins, cutting nearly two seconds off their preliminary time as each member of the team hit their best individual mark in the group effort.
“Every girl had their best split on that. It was amazing, I am so proud of all of them,” said coach Meghan Francone. “They were competitive, they had that fight, and they left it all in the water.”
The group of Katelynn Turner, Kelsey McDiffett, Molly Neton and Alexa Neton brought their clock-in to 2:06.32 compared to the previous day’s round, in which they made it to the last round, 18th at 2:08.14.
Mixing it up against a lot of schools they never see, Molly Neton noted that they beat out a couple teams between the two days.
“We were right next to Valley, and we still beat them, so that was nice,” she said. “It felt great.”
The same group in a different order also placed 22nd in the Friday prelims for the 200 freestyle relay, making them an alternate for the finals.
Friday was indeed a busy day as the Bulldogs were in line for eight of the 12 state races.
The medley relay was their first event, setting a positive tone for the rest of the day with Alexa Neton placing 30th in the following 200 free.
Alexa also had the honor of singing the national anthem at state.
“She was asked to sing not only in prelims but in finals. She did extremely well and got a lot of compliments from officials and CHSAA staff,” Francone said.
McDiffett took 45th in the 200 individual medley, one of the event’s most packed races, while Molly Neton followed with 37th in the 100 free, followed by the 200 free relay.
“It was great being able to swim one last time with my best friends,” Alexa said. “The whole relay, we’re all just like sisters.”
Molly later placed 32nd in the 100 backstroke, with McDiffett 41st in the 100 breaststroke, and ending the opening day was the 400 free relay team of Jeni Kincher, Ellina Jones, Alyssa Chavez and Anna Cooper, placing 27th.
Though it wasn’t the same group that set the state-qualifying time — each swimmer can only compete in two individual races and two relays, or three of the former, one of the latter — Francone said the foursome were just as impressive.
“I truly have an entire team of varsity swimmers. It’s really hard to even say varsity versus junior varsity because they are all exceptional athletes,” she said, noting that with Allison Jacobson and Mackenzie Anderson as alternates, the full squad was present.
As the final high school meet for Turner, Chavez and Molly Neton — who was a nominee for Athlete of the Year at the state meet, as was Francone for Coach of the Year — it was a great conclusion.
“There’s a lot of stiff competition,” Molly said. “I’m really proud of what we did; we swam our hearts out, and I couldn’t have asked anything more of my teammates.”
Besides making it to the finals compared to last year when the season ended at state prelims, the winter full of success has been one Francone has been glad to share with her swimmers, especially since last year’s finale brought with it a tinge of sadness with the announcement that the MCHS pool would be shut down, with the team since using the Meeker Recreation Center for practices.
“They’re an amazing group of girls to get to work with,” Francone said.