Dolphin swimmer sets goal of reaching Junior Nationals

Tyler Walton, age 16 swimming for the Grand Junction Dolphin Swim Club hits the water in the Boys 13 & over 200 meter Backstroke. He won his heat with a time of 2:32.39

Tyler Walton has a list above the light switch in his bedroom. He puts it there as a reminder every time he turns off the light to leave the room.

On the list are the qualifying times for the Junior Nationals swim meet in Indianapolis in August.

“Every morning I think about how cool it would be to make that,” he said of posting a qualifying time in his best event, the 100-meter freestyle.

The 16-year-old Grand Junction Dolphins swimmer has qualified for the state championships, the sectional meet and the Far West meet in previous seasons. This summer he’s set a loftier goal.

“Last year at Far West, (having) tapered (workouts) and shaved, I did a 56 (-second 100),” he said. “This year, not even being close to in shape, I’m faster than last year.”

The cutoff time for qualification in the Junior Nationals is 53 seconds, so Walton has about four weeks to shave three seconds off his best time in order to qualify.

“It’s been done,” he said, although he’s talking about an event in which swimmers generally try to pare hundredths of seconds off their times from week to week.

“Hopefully I can come out with a freakish swim at Far West or sectionals,” he said.

That’s his motivation for getting out of bed on weekday mornings to attend early practice.

“Just show up every day at practice and work as hard as you can,” he said. “That’s all you can do.”

Although he believes he still has a way to go to be in optimal shape by the time Far West and sectional meets come around at the end of the month, he appeared in mid-season form at the four-day Dolphin Invitational meet, which wrapped up Sunday at Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool.

Earlier in the weekend, Walton won the 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle and placed in the top five in two other events. On Sunday, he added a title in the 50 freestyle.

Walton’s wasn’t the only strong performance for the Dolphins over the four-day meet. Carlos Matthews won the 200 butterfly and the 100 freestyle and on Sunday took the 100 butterfly.

Having moved up an age division this year hasn’t affected Matthews’ results much.

“I’ve set some goals for Far West in California,” he said. He’s already earned a berth in the meet in the 50 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

“My free is my best stroke,” he said. “I try to improve a little each (meet).”

The Dolphin Invitational concluded with the host club winning the overall title with 3,011 points.

Montrose finished second with 2,710 points and Sopris, out of Glenwood Springs, was third with 2,209.


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