A fast success: Swimmers set 21 records at El Pomar during state long course championships

Montrose’s Alyssa Christianson takes a breath during Sunday’s 100-meter breaststroke final at El Pomar Natatorium.

Don’t be surprised if there is a push to hold the Colorado Long Course Swimming State Championships at the El Pomar Natatorium at Mesa State College every year.

Sunday capped the three-day club swimming event where 21 state records were broken during the course of the championships.

“It’s a great facility and a great pool,” Grand Junction Dolphins coach Dale Leonhart said. “Believe it or not, we have probably the fastest outdoor pool (Lincoln Park’s Moyer Pool) and the fastest indoor pool (El Pomar) in the state, and they are within six blocks of each other.”

The 54 club teams and 850 swimmers put together a strong weekend of swimming.

The Colorado Stars took the team title with 1,745.50 team points with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team in second with 1,431.50 points.

Team Sopris of Glenwood Springs had the highest finish among Western Slope teams, 25th place with 132 points. Delta was 31st with 74 points and Montrose was right behind in 32nd with 66 points.

The Dolphins finished 39th with 33 points.

Leonhart said the state atmosphere put a whole new meaning to fast swims.

“This is great from a coach’s standpoint because our swimmers are exposed to fast swimming and kids their own age that can go really fast,” Leonhart said. “Fast is relative for us. Someone swam first at the Montrose meet and was perceived as fast and they come here and aren’t winning the same events. So the awareness is enhanced on what fast is and what it might take to get that fast.”

Some of the state records broken Sunday included Ryan Arata of Falfins (Colorado Springs) setting a state record in the boys open 200-meter butterfly with a 2:06.90. That broke the previous record of 2:07.12.

Connor Croan of the Greenwood Tiger Sharks broke the record in the boys 14-and-under 200 individual medley by swimming a 2:17.79.

On the girls side, Abby Kochevar of the Colorado Stars set the record in the girls 11-12 50 backstroke in 33.20.

Shelly Drozda of the Broomfield Barracuda Swim Team set the state record in the girls 11-12 100 freestyle in 1:00.74.

The state meet is very competitive with only eight swimmers making the finals in every event. Locally, the Dolphins’ Carlos Matthews had one of the best weekends — competing in seven events.

Sunday, Matthews swam in the boys 14-and-under 200 butterfly final. Matthews’ qualified with a 2:27.89, and topped that in the final, finishing third with a 2:24.43.

Matthews’ said that was a personal best swim for him.

“I worked really hard to get it,” Matthews said. “This is my last meet of the year so I wanted to leave a mark on this meet, and I think I did that.”

Other Western Slope finishes included Aspen’s Kelcie Gerson finishing eighth in the girls 14-and-under 200 backstroke in 2:35.47, and Aspen’s Max Bryant finishing seventh in the boys 14-and-under 200 butterfly in 2:31.76.


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