Moffat County swimmers reach state times in 4 events at Jeffco Invite | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County swimmers reach state times in 4 events at Jeffco Invite

From left, Moffat County High School swimmers Jacob Briggs, David Prescott, Nathan Cooper and Brooks Birkinbine celebrate a state time for the 200-yard freestyle during the Jeffco Invitational. Briggs also qualified for state in the 50 free and Birkinbine in the 500 free and 100 breaststroke.

The Moffat County High School boys swim team entered the water of Arvada’s Meyers Pool Friday with two state qualifications. By the end of the day, that number had tripled.

MCHS hit four state times during the two-day Jefferson County Invitational, qualifying in three individual races and one relay.

The 200-yard freestyle relay group of Jacob Briggs, David Prescott, Nathan Cooper and Steamboat Springs’ Brooks Birkinbine had their best results this season, clocking in with a season low of 1:40.06, the second MCHS relay to make the mark for May’s 4A CHSAA State Championships. The 200 medley team of Briggs, Birkinbine, Cooper and Cody Evaristo assured their spot at state in March at the Montrose Invite.

Briggs also made it in the 50 free, the second consecutive year for him to hit a state time in the short race, swimming at last season’s state meet in the 50 and 100.

Briggs posted a 24.17 in the individual 50 race, just short of the 24 seconds for state. Coach Melany Neton noted that a minor mistake in his turn during the race added a minimal amount to his time.

Since Briggs was the first in the 200 free relay, he was eligible to qualify individually on his starting split, which was 23.90.

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“They came out of the water really excited about that,” Neton said. “Jacob’s foot slipped on that turn in the individual race, but in the relay, he hit everything just right.”

This marks the fifth total state time for Birkinbine, who also made the cut in the 200 free in Montrose. While at Jeffco, he went the distance at 5:24.94 to qualify in the 500 free and also earned his state slot in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:08.26.

Bulldogs earned season personal and season bests in most races at Jeffco, including Prescott, John Cutler, Ethan Powers and Karson Cox in the 50; Prescott, Cooper and Brandon Beason in the 100 free; Evaristo, Cutler, Beason and Powers in the 100 backstroke; Cooper in the 100 breast; Evaristo in 200 free; and Cox in the 500 free.

Athletes will switch up some of their relays in the upcoming D51 Invitational at Grand Junction’s Colorado Mesa University, and coaches are hoping that means more state times.

Evaristo is on the brink of making it in the backstroke, Neton said, and swimmers are also pooling their talents for the longer 400 free relay.

“With their individual times, it looks like they’d be able to make it in that one,” Neton said. “All the hard work they’ve been doing at practice is really showing. They’re excited for each other, cheer other on, and all that really helps.”