Varsity swimmers getting wet |

Varsity swimmers getting wet

Bruce Tippets

Twenty-nine girls will splash into the water for the Moffat County High School girls varsity swim team.

According to Bulldogs coach Ed Stehlin, the team has a mixture of underclassmen and upperclassmen.

“We have 29 girls out for the team this year,” said Stehlin. “The majority of the swimmers are at the top and the bottom. It looks like we have a lot of juniors, seniors and freshmen. The freshmen group is a good group of kids.”

Stehlin is pleased with the turnout of swimmers.

“This is the second biggest team that I have ever had,” said Stehlin. “The biggest I had was 34 swimmers and that was four years ago and since then it has been around 20 to 25 swimmers. This year is an above average number.”

The Bulldogs spent the first week getting used to the water.

“As a whole it’s a good group of kids and it’s still kind of early. We have only been in the water a week,” said Stehlin. “We spent all of last week on strokes and working on techniques. We went back and forth across the pool to try to get them a little bit conditioned. We have a week under our belt and we are getting there.”

“They changed the season back this year to a longer season,” said Stehlin. “We get the extra four or five weeks and it will make a difference. We will get a little bit more time in the pool. It’s going to help the younger kids.”

The Bulldogs start the season at home Dec. 4 when they host Grand Junction Central, Palisade and Delta at the high school pool.

“The first couple of meets we just get in the water and see where we are at and see what we need to do,” said Stehlin. “That’s all we use them for. We are not really worried about how fast we swim.”

The Bulldogs teams has swimmers from surrounding towns that don’t have swim teams.

“I have six swimmers from out of town,” said Stehlin. “I have two from Meeker, Rangley and Steamboat Springs. With the exception of one girl from Meeker they are all returning.”

Among the state qualifiers from a year ago was Megan Sabin who qualified in the 100-meter breaststroke and took eighth place. Cammie Hillewaert placed 13th in the same event.

In the 200-meter freestyle relay, Larissa Hinaman, Carissa O’ Hara, Megan Sabin and Katie Sabin took 13th place while setting a new school record. The 200-meter medley relay school record was also broken by Hinaman, Megan Sabin, Hillewaert and O’Hara while place placing 15th at state. O’Hara also broke the school record while placing 14th in the 50-meter freestyle.

“Last year we qualified in seven events for the state meet and I took seven swimmers,” said Stehlin. “We placed in six events and we took two seniors to the state meet. I have five of those that are coming back. I am hoping this year to take seven or eight kids if not more.”