Griffins going for fourth straight Western Slope swim title

The District 51 Griffins have become the bullies of the Western Slope.

The Griffins have won the past three Western Slope Championship meets, and are going for the fourth this weekend at the El Pomar Natatorium.

“My freshman year it was our first year in a while winning,” Griffins’ senior Cyrus Pearo said. “The next year it was like, ‘Cool, they won again.’ The third year people were getting irritated, and now I think they are getting flat out mad.”

The Griffins have always put a high priority on winning the league meet. District 51 has only three seniors on the team who have been around for all four meets.

“They’d love nothing better than to go out with a bang,” Griffins coach Dale Leonhart said. “The goal has been a four-play in May.”

The Griffins may be young this season, but they have been successful. District 51 has qualified all three relay teams — the 200-yard medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle — as well as five individual swimmers in multiple events for state.

Tyler Walton has qualified in the 200 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. Pearo has qualified in the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

Tyler Fair has qualified in the 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke. Austin Acree has qualified in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, and freshman Carlos Matthews has qualified in the 500 freestyle.

“We have some stuff this year,” Leonhart said. “If everything clicks this week and next week we could end up top 10 in state, which is another mission.”

This weekend, the Griffins take on Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Durango, Gunnison and Moffat County in the league meet.

“The pressure keeps building for us,” Pearo said. “Especially with Montrose and their conglomerate, they really want us bad.”

The Griffins’ opportunity to win another league title rests not only on their top swimmers, but the team as a whole.

“We have a stout ‘A’ team,” Pearo said. “But it’s been the rest of the team that has been really important to give us good depth.”

The Western Slope Swim Championships begin today at 3:30 p.m. with preliminary races. The diving prelims begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and the finals races begin at 2 p.m.


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