Moffat County swimmers racing toward success in new 3A class | CraigDailyPress.com
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Moffat County swimmers racing toward success in new 3A class

Moffat County High School's Katelynn Turner stays focused while performing warm-up laps in the MCHS pool. Among the changes for MCHS girls swimming is a new 3A class within the sport.
Andy Bockelman

Changes abound this season for Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School girls swimming, but one thing remains the same year after year: the act of getting in the water and moving to the other side of the pool as quickly as possible. girls swimming, but one thing remains the same year after year: the act of getting in the water and moving to the other side of the pool as quickly as possible.

Moffat County High School girls swimming, but one thing remains the same year after year: the act of getting in the water and moving to the other side of the pool as quickly as possible.

MCHS aquatics will see some differences this year, primarily positive, as the Bulldogs welcome back coach Meghan Francone and also move into a 3A classification.

The 3A distinction isn’t exactly new — while the size of Moffat County’s student body classifies it as 3A in most sports through Colorado High School Activities Association, swimming has previously only recognized 5A and 4A, with all smaller schools functioning at the 4A levels for qualifying standards and championship events.

Now that a 3A level has been implemented for the sport, MCHS will see fewer of the larger schools it competed with in previous years, though Western Slope mainstays Gunnison, Glenwood Springs, Delta and Aspen will remain in the same pool of contenders, as well as many smaller schools around Colorado.

“I’m excited to see that change, it’s much-needed,” Francone said. “It’s the first time we get our own meet.”

Qualifying times for state are only seconds away from those of 4A and will still demand great effort.

“They have to work for these times, and they’re willing to put forth that effort, so we’ll see where they go,” Francone said.

After two years away from coaching at MCHS, Francone decided to come back to wintertime coaching, sharing the oversight of the program with Melany Neton.

The team has 17 members, including three representing Meeker and one from Steamboat Springs, the pool full of swimmers who are either returning to the sport or entirely new to competitive swimming.

Caroline Riley said she got interested in joining the team after working as a summer lifeguard.

“It’s probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made because you get exercise, but you also feel really good after it,” she said.

Jaycee Holman is among the veterans, now in her third year competing. And, while she enjoyed the past two seasons, she has looked forward to this year even more thanks to Francone being back at the high school.

“She knows a lot of us and knows what to help us on,” she said. “She knows all of our advantages and disadvantages.”

Holman said she expects to have the best results in either the 100-yard butterfly or 100 breaststroke, the latter of which is her specialty.

Relay events will be a focus for the team, their opening event this weekend all about group races during Saturday relays at Colorado Mesa University.

Marisa Hulstine will be a crucial component of relays, as well as taking on the 500 freestyle event as the season continues.

Hulstine is the only senior this season for the girls, though she appreciates the varied level of experience.

“I’m excited that we have a bigger team with a lot of new swimmers. I like to see how they progress,” she said.

Hulstine added that her drive to make it to state is greater than ever in her final year at Moffat County.

Francone said MCHS swimmers attended the state meet each of the eight years she previously coached. There are numerous swimmers this year she expects to be close to state times if not exceeding them, the determining factor being how much each individual works to make it happen.

“Truly, I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls,” she said. “They’re great athletes, great academically and just good girls all around. I’m thrilled to be on deck with them.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.


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