A disheartening loss: Disqualifications cost Grand Junction win in the pool against Gunnison

The Grand Junction High School swim team is learning valuable lessons early in the season.

Saturday at Orchard Mesa Community Pool, the Tigers lost a dual meet to Gunnison, 132-130. Grand Junction possibly could have won the meet were it not for three disqualifications in two different events. The Tigers had two disqualifications for illegal turns in the 100-yard breaststroke and one in the 200 individual medley.

“We DQ’d ourselves out of a win,” Grand Junction coach Dale Leonhart said. “But that’s OK, we are still young and still learning.”

The mistakes hurt the Tigers’ chance to win, but it’s a good thing to have them happen early in the year as opposed to later in the season when there could be more at stake. Leonhart said the Tigers’ mistakes aren’t too bad, considering the team is so inexperienced.

“We have a lot of brand-new kids,” Leonhart said. “Their learning curve is very steep, and every competitive experience is of great value to them.”

Although the Tigers didn’t win the meet, they still had some solid swims. Chloe Jagelski won the 500-yard freestyle in 6:55.33. Aubri Wiley finished first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:36.30.

The Tigers also had strong performances from their relay teams. The 200 medley relay finished second in 2:16.67 and the 200 freestyle relay team came in second in 2:05.05.

“Today went really well,” said Jordyn Madsen, who is on the Tigers’ ‘A’ relay for all three relay events. “We had a lot of really nice swims, and we match up with Gunnison, so it pushed us.”

The meet wrapped up the first part of the Tigers’ season. Grand Junction will not swim again until a triangular meet on Jan. 9 in Aspen. Madsen emphasized how important training during the time off is for the team.

“Winter break is really important because it’s three weeks where you sit around and eat food with your family,” Madsen said. “So it’s big for us to get a couple of training sessions a week, just to stay fit and not lose conditioning.”

One thing working in the Tigers’ favor is a new CHSAA rule that allows winter sports to have voluntary practice Dec. 28-30. In the past, coaches were unable to schedule any team workouts for almost two weeks.

“It’s very helpful because in the past we lost 14-16 days of training right in the middle of the season,” Leonhart said. “If we didn’t do anything over Christmas break, you have setback in the training progression, and you never catch up.”

The Palisade-Central swim team was at the Moffat County for a dual with the Bulldogs, losing 101-50. The WarDogs were led by Sarah Kem, who took first in the 200 freestyle in 3:10.17. Kem also finished second in the 400 freestyle in 6:44.10.

“We swam a lot better than I thought we would,” Palisade-Central coach Steve Weir said. “We have a lot of new swimmers, and the girls that are in the water are doing more than what they are asked of.”

Kalli River-Mann finished second in the 50 freestyle in 40.20.


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