Moffat County swimmers move to final round at state championships, hit personal bests in multiple races
Amid a bustling bunch of competition, the Moffat County High School girls swim team’s last event of the season saw Bulldogs strive ever more to improve and keep up with the pack.
MCHS swimmers will move on to the 3A State Championships finals in the 400-yard freestyle relay with the group of Ellina Jones, Jeni Kincher, Alexa Neton and Kelsey McDiffett hitting their best time to date in Friday’s preliminary round at Thornton’s Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.
The foursome’s efforts in the longest relay — and the last race of the day — took them to a time of 4:10.54 to place 22nd among 28 teams. The Bulldogs held back nothing to trim nearly two seconds from the state-qualifying time they reached in the Southwest Conference Championships.
The top 20 teams in prelims are guaranteed a spot in the finals, while the following two gain alternate status, with MoCo swimmers edging out No. 23 Salida at three-tenths of a second.
With entries in six state races, MCHS begun the day with the lineup that got them there in the 200 medley relay, with Jones, McDiffett, Anna Cooper and Neton 29th at 2:09.52.
From there, McDiffett dove in for the 200 individual medley, the third year in a row the MCHS junior has competed in the IM at state, placing 37th Friday, clocking in at 2:33.26.
In the 500 freestyle race for the first time at the state level after multiple trips each year, Neton faced extensive competition for the lengthiest individual race, placing 40th overall with her best time ever at 6:10.68.
McDiffett was back in the water for her fourth and final event in the 100 breaststroke, which wound up being her best solo event of the day. Placing 25th among 47 in the stroke, she reached her fastest time ever, 1:17.34.
Though McDiffett was part of the 200 free relay team that qualified for state, her two solo events capped her four-race limit.
Freshman Sarah Johnson joined Jones, Kincher and Neton in the 200 free relay, with the Bulldogs ranking 29th at a time of 1:56.86.
The full MCHS swim team joined the effort at state, with Mackenzie Anderson, Eliana Mack, Tiana Nichols, Kate Lockwood, Allison Jacobson, Cristiann Reyes and Alexei Reyes standing by as alternates.
Before the team’s departure from the school Thursday morning, the full student body complete with the school band and spirit team sent off the group.