Swim team in position to demolish previous best at state | CraigDailyPress.com

Swim team in position to demolish previous best at state

LOVELAND — Jim Vorhies only needed one word to describe the performance of the Moffat County boys swim team in Friday’s preliminaries at the state swim meet: beautiful.

“It couldn’t have gone much better,” the coach said. “We’re on track.”

The Bulldogs sliced through the water in record speeds at the Mountain View High School natatorium right away and continued throughout the three hours of prelims. In the process, they improved their prequalifying seedings in seven of their 10 swims.

In the first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay, the team of seniors Chris Compton, Zach Vorhies, Nick Ruckman and Blake Worsley led its heat from start to finish and won the heat by two seconds.

The foursome blew away its previous best time of 1 minute, 44.96 seconds by more than two seconds. Its new school record of 1:42.17 was the second-best in the prelims behind Montrose’s 1:41.55.

Everybody with a Bulldog swim cap was pumped after the opening event.

“I’m juiced now,” said Comp–ton, who swam a personal best in his leadoff backstroke leg. “We can win this (event).”

“Two seconds today, two seconds tomorrow,” Zach Vorhies said about his team’s ability to still improve. “We can still trim time.”

Worsley may have been the most enthusiastic. He broke 22 seconds in his leg of the 50 freestyle for the first time. Icing was added to the cake because he slightly missed his turn.

“I’m going to break the 20 (sec.) mark this meet,” he announced to his team. “What will you guys give me if I do that?”

Teammates offered him a big hug as compensation for a sub-20 leg, but the hug also will be accompanied with a state medal if he does shave more than a second off his best.

Just 35 minutes after the medley, Compton, Worsley and Ruckman were back at it for the 50 freestyle. Senior Andy Key joined them.

Ruckman earned the most-improved award in that event, breaking the 23-second barrier for the first time in his career (22.86). His time put him in sixth going into the finals. Worsley had the third-best time of the night with a 22.24, but he wasn’t jumping up and down about it.

“I was way too nervous,” he said. “It’s still good, but I’ll do better tomorrow.”

Compton and Key made it into the consolation finals with swims that put them in 12th and 13th, respectively.

Those four teamed up on the 200 freestyle relay and went through the prelims with a school-record time of 1:33.22. The four-second improvement from the team’s previous best moved them from 10th to fifth best time in the state.

After three years of qualifying for the consolation finals in the 100 backstroke, Compton left no doubt he belonged in the finals. His personal best of 56.95 was more than a second better than ever before and was the third-best time of the night.

Worsley also turned in a personal best in the 100 freestyle, which moved him into the finals with a fourth-place seed.

Ruckman’s 100 butterfly and the 400 freestyle relay team were the only two events in which Moffat County didn’t improve on it’s prestate ranking.

Ruckman qualified for the consolation finals in 12th place. The 400 relay of Zach Vorhies, Key, junior Duke Karschner and Compton will swim in the consolation finals today with the 14th seed.

At two-day meets in the past, the Bulldogs traditionally have swam faster in the preliminaries. Coach Vorhies said that would change this weekend.

“We’ll keep them relaxed but focused,” he said. “They’ve got too much at stake not to swim faster.”

Today, all swimmers who had a time in the top eight will compete in the finals. Times that were the ninth- through the 16th-best qualified for the consolation finals. Before this year, Jim Vorhies never had a Bulldog in the finals.

Today, he’ll have the pleasure of seeing “Moffat County” on the scoreboard six times in the finals.

“I don’t know if it could have gone much better,” he said. “I hoped to double our points from last year, but I think we could triple them now.”

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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