Moffat County swimming turns in season-best in 400-yard free relay at 3A state championship |

Moffat County swimming turns in season-best in 400-yard free relay at 3A state championship


Moffat County senior Ellina Jones competes in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the 3A regional meet at Colorado Mesa University in early March. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

After two weather-related delays, the Moffat County Bulldogs finally jumped in the pool on Tuesday, and saw the 400-yard free relay team turn in a season-best time.

Competing in Thornton for the 3A state championship, the first event that the Bulldogs competing in was the 100-yard Breaststroke, which saw senior Kelsey McDiffett finish in 19th with a time of 1:17.20. The senior came into the event as a last-second replacement for a swimmer who dropped out of the event.

In team events, the Bulldogs saw the 400-yard freestyle relay of seniors Ellina Jones, Alexa Neton, and Kelsey McDiffett, and junior Hailey Knowles drop 2.54 seconds off their entry time, going from 4:09.85 to 4:07.31, good for a 19th-place finish in the state meet.

Despite the strong day overall for the Bulldogs, it was a somber day for the seniors in particular, knowing that this was their last time swimming competitively together.

“I feel so blessed to have gotten to swim at state for the last four years with my teammates,” Neton said. “It was sad today because this is the last time we will all swim together.”

The team had to deal with only four meets, down from the scheduled seven that they had before the season started. The fact that they were able to fight through that and still be dedicated and improve on their times is something that made head coach Melany Neton very proud.

“I am most proud of the girls relays and all of the time they cut in all three of their relays,” Neton said. “Our season was short with us attending only four meets before regionals…These young ladies worked hard at every practice and it showed in their times.”

The fact that the team got their individual personal bests is something that stands out for Jones in her last career meet.

“The highlight of this meet was getting a best time for our team during our last swim together. I’m very blessed to have gotten to swim with these girls for so long,” Jones said.

The seniors have been swimming together for a long time, as McDiffett and Neton became fast friends when they started swimming together in Kindergarten. Jones joined them in third grade. It is sad to see her daughter and her daughter’s friends end their careers for Neton, knowing how long they have been together competing in the pool.

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