Swimmers earn honors at state | CraigDailyPress.com

Swimmers earn honors at state

Caitlin Conci had a dream.

The dream came Friday night, the night before her final in the 100-yard backstroke at the Colorado State Swimming Championships in Fort Collins. In that dream, she swam a time of 1 minute, 01.01 seconds in the 100-meter backstroke.

Her vision came the night after Conci and her sophomore twin sister, Kelsey, became the first Moffat County girls swimmers in four years to qualify for a final at the state meet.

Caitlin broke the 1:02 mark in the breaststroke for the first time in her career in the preliminary round on Friday. Her time of 1:01.65 seeded her fifth going into the final.

“After Friday, I really wanted to swim a sectional-qualifying time,” she said. “The dream was sort of funny. I hoped it would come true.”

Maybe the dream is for next year’s state meet.

Caitlin didn’t break 1:02 Saturday, but she earned all-state honors with a seventh-place finish.

Caitlin’s season-best time from Friday night was 0.46 of a second from qualifying for the Western Region Section meet in March in Phoenix.

“It was frustrating not to swim faster Saturday,” she said. “I have something to go for next year.”

Three seniors finished in front of Caitlin, which makes her a top-five returnee for next year.

Kelsey came into the state meet with a sectional-qualifying time that she earned the previous week at the Western Slope Championships. Her time of 24.8 in a short-course yard pool was the best of her career; it was also the third best time in the state.

She hoped to take that momentum into the state meet.

It wasn’t her weekend to improve times.

“I was hoping to swim the same or better,” she said. “It didn’t happen though.”

Kelsey, who set a goal at last year’s state meet to make the finals in the 50 freestyle, reached that goal with time of 25.19 in the preliminaries. She was sitting in eighth going into the final.

She finished eighth in the final with a time of 25.31. There were four seniors in front of her.

“I did set the goal to reach the finals last year, so I did that,” she said. “But I didn’t set a goal to finish last in the final. It was a little disappointing.”

She went on to finish 16th in the 100 freestyle.

The season isn’t over for Kelsey, who is training the next two weeks for the meet in Phoenix against the top high school swimmers in the West.

She’ll compete in the 50 freestyle March 7. “I hope to place in the top 50,” she said.

The 200-medley team of both Concis, senior Ashleigh McDonald and junior Vanessa Murray made it into the consolation finals by swimming a time of 1:59.78 in the preliminaries. The team finished 12th in the final with a time of 2:00.68. It came in seeded 15th.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t improve on our time from last week,” McDonald said. “At least we made it into the finals.”

McDonald didn’t know how to react to swimming her last high school event.

“It’s not sinking in yet,” she said. “I’ll swim again, so it’s not like it’s the end.”

The 200-freestyle relay team of Murray, Caitlin Conci, McDonald and Meghan Innes finished 24th in the preliminary round. The 400-freestyle team of Murray, McDonald, Caitlin Conci and senior Alyssa Pierson placed 31st.

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