Moffat County swimmers strengthening up for return to state
Senior Jesse Kurz looks to qualify for fourth year
March 11, 2016
Like a school of fish, the closer Bulldog swimmers stick together, the mightier they become.
Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School boys are back in the pool as their swimming season commences for the spring, and the guys are eager to take their year as far as they can. boys are back in the pool as their swimming season commences for the spring, and the guys are eager to take their year as far as they can.
Moffat County High School boys are back in the pool as their swimming season commences for the spring, and the guys are eager to take their year as far as they can.
The squad is smaller this season, with a total of seven athletes ready to hop in the water, including five Craig kids and two Steamboat Springs additions.
"We have a lot of talent and a lot of beginners," said coach Jeff Wert. "We just have to start working hard, first two weeks we're just getting in shape."
Laps in the MCHS pool are of course part of the preparation, but Wert has put the aquatics athletes through a number of other techniques to tone their bodies, such as carrying weights through the water, a move known as "Captain Jack," taking it's name from the lead character of "Pirates of the Caribbean."
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"I'm looking for a lot of fun exercises to get them going, strengthen muscles," Wert said. "I've been talking a lot with (trainer) Marshall Kraker about how in the first two weeks you have to focus on flexibility, eating right and really strengthening and getting used to the water again. For those that don't, it's a tough transition."
Younger swimmers include returning Jacob Briggs — part of the state-qualifying 200-yard freestyle relay last season — and Andy Pogline and Devin McIntosh, as well as Steamboat's Sean Portman and Brooks Birkinbine.
Jesse Kurz and Wes Atkin are this year's seniors — Kurz is a three-time visitor to the state championships in multiple events, ready to make it an even four, squeezing in time in the pool whenever he could during the off-season.
Beating his own times in a pair of races is what he's looking to do, which would again put him at the state level.
"The 50 free and 100 free are what I'm really hoping for this year," he said. "If I get any more, that's just a bonus."
Atkin only began last year but has come a long way since then and hopes to make his last year at MCHS count, competing in both freestyle and breaststroke, as well as joining in a relay.
Improving his form in the water is an objective, he said.
"Just being a better athlete overall," Atkin said.
A recurring problem for MCHS swimming is attending meets with schools boasting enormous teams, saturating the lineup of each race and gaining a higher ranking as a result.
However, the points and placements are not the goal, Wert said. It's all about trimming down the times and achieving personal milestones little by little.
"I'm really hoping our seniors will lead the pack, get the younger kids to really enjoy swimming and get better every day,” he said.
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.