District 51 Griffins use quadrangular to mesh talent in preparation for state

District 51 diver Greg Houska concentrates on his form Saturday as he performs a front 1 1/2 dive on during the District 51 Quadrangular at Mesa State College’s El Pomar Natatorium.

There is always room to tinker.

Saturday at the District 51 Quadrangular, all three relay teams for the District 51 Griffins swim team achieved state qualifying times.

The Griffins had already qualified their relays with a different lineup, so Saturday’s performances were an added bonus.

“You are only allowed one relay at state and you take whomever you want on it,” Griffins coach Dale Leonhart said. “We are still looking for the best combination.”

The goal of earning state qualifying times is always on the swimmers’ minds.

Nate Garcia swam the anchor leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay that won with a state qualifying time of 1 minute, 35.94 seconds.

“This is the first state cut I’ve gotten,” Garcia said. “We were missing a couple of our faster kids, so Coach put us together and we did well.”

Garcia teamed with Tyler Walton, Tyler Fair and Nate Sellers on the relay.

“This is the first relay we’ve been together on,” Garcia said. “But we have good teamwork. We had good starts and good returns into the water.”

Cyrus Pearo was on the Griffins’ winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.

The 200 medley relay finished in a state qualifying time of 1:48.15, and the 400 freestyle team finished in 3:31.37.

“Our relays are probably the best shot of making a really high finish at state,” Pearo said. “We are trying to get those fine-tuned so we can make our way into the top eight.”

The Griffins were forced to be creative with the relays because they had some swimmers missing. Leonhart said he hopes to have a full team next weekend to have his swimmers chase their school records.

“We are missing about 10 or 11,” Leonhart said. “We wanted to let the Fruita boys take a shot at their records, and the Grand Junction boys at their records. I’d like to do that next week in Durango.”

District 51 won the meet with 514 points. Some of the Griffins’ top individual swims included Walton winning and qualifying in the 200 freestyle in 1:15.78. Walton also won the 50 freestyle in 22.63.

Pearo, a senior, won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:10.41, and the 100-yard backstroke in 58.90.

“This is the last bit of my last season,” Pearo said. “I have to keep motivated to finish strong.”

Montrose’s top swims included Koysta Callihan winning the 100 freestyle in 52.05, and Michael Barnosky winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.96.

The Griffins swim at Durango this weekend before the final regular-season meet, the Western Slope Championships, at El Pomar Natatorium on May 13-14.


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