In the Zone

Logan Young thrilled to have chance to compete in Western Zone swim meet

Logan Young, one of two Maverick Aquatics swimmers on the Colorado team, takes a breath during Tuesday’s 1,500-meter freestyle race at El Pomar Natatorium. Young didn’t place, but lowered his time by 3 seconds.

The USA Swimming Western Zone Age Group Championships will feature some of the fastest swimmers in the western part of the U.S. and there will be plenty of fans who will come to El Pomar Natatorium to watch. The meet began Tuesday with two events, the 1,500-meter freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay.

Logan Young stayed in the pool a little longer, soaking in the scene.

It was the moment he’s focused on for several months and it was here.

The 17-year-old competed in his first USA Swimming Western Zone Age Group Championships on Tuesday afternoon at Colorado Mesa University’s El Pomar Natatorium.

“That was my goal for the season, to swim in this meet,” Young said. “It paid off. This has been my focus since last September and I made it. It wasn’t easy.”

Young wasn’t necessarily going for any meet records or titles, but simply wanted to experience swimming with the best swimmers in his age group. He is competing on the Colorado Swimming team, the best swimmers from the 90 club teams in Colorado.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Young said. “We are all on different club teams, but now on one team.”

He and Taylor Kidd are representing Maverick Aquatics on the Colorado team.

Young swam in the boys 1,500-meter freestyle, the only individual event on the first day of the five-day meet. Although he didn’t place, he cut nearly three seconds off his qualifying time, swimming the mile in 18 minutes, 53.73 seconds.

“I love (the mile),” Young said. “It’s not a sprint, where a person can go all out and be done. It takes a lot of skill and mental toughness to hold your splits and stay within what you want to do.

“You want to be consistent, you don’t want your (split) times to vary.”

The Western Zone is one of four zones in the USA Swimming Age Group Championships, which started in the early 1980s, with 16 teams participating in this week’s meet.

Grand Junction won the right to host the meet through a bidding process.

“I’m impressed with the way Grand Junction made this happen,” USA Swimming Western Zone non-coaching director Robert Broyles said. “When you come to a place like this, everyone steps up their game.”

Broyles said several Olympic swimmers have competed in a Zone Age Group Championship, including Colorado’s Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin in 2006 and 2007.

The zone meet gives young swimmers, ages 10-18, an opportunity to not only swim against some of the best swimmers their age, but with them in a relay.

“It’s pretty interesting,” Max Bryant of Aspen said. “You have to work as a team. You haven’t met each other and it forces you to know each other better.”

Bryant is competing in his first Western Zone Championships and rooming with Lars Knutsen of Montrose and another swimmer from Castle Rock.

“It’s a lot different than a normal meet with all these different teams here,” Bryant said. “It’s cool to room with a few kids, too. It’s a fun experience.”

Bryant swam the 1,500 on Tuesday morning.

“I didn’t do well,” he said. “I added a bunch of time.”

Bryant is competing in several other events, including the 400 individual medley, 400 freestyle, 200 individual medley, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 butterfly.


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