Moffat County swim team holds nothing back in state races
It’s been a season that’s come with some setbacks, but the Moffat County boys swim program was in the mix Thursday at the Class 4A CHSAA State Championships.
The Bulldogs finished among the best this week with entries in four races during the state competition.
Steamboat Springs swimmers Stovin Briggs and Tyler Stone swam for Moffat County with Briggs in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly and Stone in the 200 individual medley and 500 free.
Briggs placed 35th of 40 in the preliminary round of the 200 free with a time of 1:58.7, as well as finishing just outside of alternate status in the 100 fly prelims, ranking 26th of 41 at 58.52.
Though he received a disqualification and no time in the 200 IM, Stone saw triumph with his best time of the season in the 500: 28th of 32 at 5:31.5.
The two had a combined seven state qualifications, with Briggs also eligible in the 100 and 500 free events and Stone in the 100 free, though each of them only swam in two races at state.
“I’m honestly surprised I even made the 100 free. It’s not my best event, but I swam it well one time,” Stone said. “500 was one of my preferred races in the club season, and I’m a distance swimmer to begin with so it makes sense.”
Stone is a sophomore and Briggs a freshman in Steamboat, and both moved to Northwest Colorado in the past year. Stone was previously part of a state relay with Denver’s Thomas Jefferson.
“I do a club team in Denver that I still go back and swim for,” he explained. “I was honestly expecting to have an offseason this year before going back for club swimming.”
Though he still has previous attachments, Stone enjoys being able to swim for the Bulldogs,
“Everyone’s nice, we get along, and we’re a team,” he said. “We all do well together.”
The MCHS group came together suddenly this spring after fielding no team in 2021. Besides Briggs and Stone, the team includes Moffat County freshmen Travis LeFevre and Caedmon Anderson, and sophomore Gabe Klingbeil.
The group was hoping to qualify in a state relay event, though only Stone and Anderson were able to compete in the Southwest Conference Championships the week before state, with LeFevre injured before the event.
Even so, the May 5 and 6 event saw good results for Stone with his best time in the 100 backstroke and 200 free and Anderson his bests in the 50 and 100 free.
The return of the Bulldogs boys swim program has been beneficial for athletes like LeFevre, who’s been swimming for the majority of his life and was unsure he’d be able to do it in high school.
“I think I started when I was in first grade,” LeFevre said. “It’s not that much different now, just a lot faster and more intense practice. Travel every day is difficult, but we do it.”
LeFevre has had Melany Neton as a coach since the Sea Sharks summer program, and has been glad to have her still running things.
“She’s really supportive and helps us improve a lot,” he said.
Though she’s had a small roster this year, Neton said the positive is each of the boys on the team has at least two years to keep swimming with the Bulldogs.
“They’re strong swimmers and all working well together. This is a good group of boys and it’s definitely worth the time they’re all putting into it,” she said. “It’s good to have them back in the water, and hopefully this will spur some of the other swimmers who didn’t go out so they can join us next year.”
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