Moffat County swimming makes shifts at Montrose Meet heading into break
Pushing ever closer to state qualification, Moffat County High School girls swimming will need to wait a few weeks before they have another opportunity to make their marks, but the Bulldogs look to come out of the winter break faster than ever.
MCHS placed sixth overall during the Montrose Meet Friday, Dec. 20, with a fraction of a second separating them from the distinction of a state team.
With swimmers nearly at the standard in multiple events, the closest was Kelsey McDiffett in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:20.65, placing eighth for her quickest time yet this season.
The finish was .15 seconds away from the 1:20.5 needed to attend the 3A State Championships in February.
“We were all cheering her on during that one. She was so close,” said coach Melany Neton.
She added that the team energy was also surging during the 200 freestyle relay, during which McDiffett, Alexa Neton, Jeni Kincher and Ellina Jones placed fifth in the group event at 1:57.3, their swiftest so far this winter, as well as 1.3 seconds from state.
“I think we’re right where we need to be. I know they’re going to get there,” Melany Neton said. “We’ve just got to get some more miles in the pool.”
The same bunch of girls also made a significant effort in the 200 medley relay, as a shift in the order saw positive results.
“I’ve been messing with different positions,” Neton said. “With that combination, they cut about three more seconds, so I was really proud of that.”
In the new adjustment, Jones started the group off with the backstroke, followed by McDiffett in the breast, Alexa Neton in the butterfly and Kincher wrapping up with the free, ending it at 2:17.65 and ninth place.
Though the varsity relays have been much the same, the lineup isn’t concrete.
“We’ve tried a couple different positions, and we even brought Anna Cooper in because her fly is looking really good,” Neton said.
Cooper currently holds the team’s best time in the 100 fly individual race, placing 10th at Montrose, while Kate Lockwood was close behind McDiffett in the breaststroke at 1:28.77.
“As a freshman, that’s really good,” Neton said.
With multiple season bests achieved at Montrose, Jones and Sarah Johnson brought down their times in the 50 free to 30.34 and 31.89, respectively, placing 14th and 22nd.
Coming in just behind Kincher in 11th at 1:07.99, Jones also dropped her time in the 100 free (1:08.45) for 12th as did Allison Jacobson (1:23.82) for 24th.
Alexa Neton placed seventh in the 200 free, with Johnson and Jacobson reaching new lows in 17th and 20th, with Cooper 21st.
With MoCo swimmers fielding additional teams in the 200 relays — Johnson, Jacobson, Cooper and Alexei Reyes placing 14th in 200 free and Johnson, Lockwood, Cooper and Cristiann Reyes 14th in the medley — the team also moved into the 400 free relay.
Alexa Neton led off, while McDiffett served as anchor, and Alexei Reyes and Cristiann Reyes swam the middle segments.
Melany Neton noted that the longer relay can be a challenge for novice athletes, though both Reyes performed strongly.
“I am super-proud of those two young ladies. They joined the team as very beginning swimmers and completed their first 100’s without ever stopping in the middle,” she said. “I’m super-excited where they all are and they’re motivated. We just need to keep working on our endurance.”
MCHS swimming will take a hiatus for Christmas break before prepping for the latter half of the season, which kicks off in a familiar locale with the two-day Montrose Invitational Jan. 10 and 11.