GJ swim invite doesn’t yield Olympic trial times

Kathryn McConnell of the Maverick Aquatics swim team won her heat Sunday in the girls 200 meter backstroke at the El Pomar Natatorium Sunday with a time of 2:52:55.

The pool is gaining notoriety as being fast because of its deep waters and wave suppression. But that does not mean an automatic pass to the U.S. Olympic Trials.

El Pomar Natatorium for the past three days was the site of the Grand Junction Invitational club swimming meet. Twenty teams participated. Evergreen won the meet over the host Maverick Aquatics.

And thee swimmers — Chris Spriggs, 25, and Eric Anderssen, 24, of the Aquawolves Swim Team out of Denver and Sawyer Franz, 19, of the University of Denver Hilltoppers swim club — came to attempt trial-qualifying times.

None got one.

In Sunday’s final race, the 15-and-over 400-meter medley relay, Franz, who swims for the University of Connecticut but is from Denver, tried to grab a trial-qualifying time of 4:35.49.

He was about four seconds short.

“I’ve tried for the better part of three years to make the cut and just fell short,” he said. “It’s been the same couple seconds, half-second, I miss by over and over and over.”

Swimming is not an easy sport, despite some perceptions.

This was Maverick Aquatic’s Taylor Kidd’s event schedule for the three-day tournament: 50, 100, 200 and 400 freestyles; 200 and 400 individual medley; 100 and 200 butterfly; and the 100 backstroke.

And two relays.

All told, she swam in 20 heats.

She qualified in the 200 and 500 freestyles for the Aug. 7–12 West Zone meet at El Pomar Natatorium. The meet is a qualifier for sectionals.

The last time Kidd qualified for a zone meet, she lived in Phoenix. That was when the 15-year-old Grand Junction High School student was 10. But just before the meet, her family moved to Colorado. She thought she’d qualify the next year. She’d have to wait five years.

And now that she’s back, she can only think of one thing: Getting some rest. And food.

“I haven’t eaten in six hours,” she said just before the afternoon 400 IM.

And what Maverick Aquatics’ Logan Young usually eats during a meet counts as scraps.

“I might get a sandwich and pick off a little piece of meat, or a piece of bread,” he said. “I can’t eat too much.”

Local winners, all from Maverick Aquatics, were Natalie McConnell in the 11-12 100 butterfly (1:24.38), Shane Haberkorn in the 13-14 400 individual medley (5:55.75) and Steven Norris in the 11-12 100 butterfly (1:21.02).

Norris said the way he swims, twisting his arms as they enter the pool, has caused muscle damage around his shoulders. He said he began feeling severe pain the past few weeks.

Yet he swam on.

“I try and keep my hands flat when they go in,” he said.

Evergreen won the meet with 2,736.5 points (boys and girls).

Maverick Aquatics was second with 2,436, and Aspen was third with 2,044. Montrose was sixth (1,048.5) and Delta 14th (354).

Evergreen particularly noticed the pool’s characteristics that can lend themselves to above-average times.

“We usually go to Florida for travel meets, so this is our main travel meet now,” said Evergreen’s Kamryn Holland. “I like this pool a lot. It’s a fast pool.”

And then her face glitters with sarcasm.

“It’s cold,” she explained. “I feel like I need to get out and go as fast as I can, so it’s like, ‘Let’s go. Power through.’”

She was joking. Teammate Jen Beltz was not.

“(The pool) cools your body down, so your body doesn’t have to use energy cooling your muscles down when you’re working out,” she said. “It’s kind of mental. All the big meets have cooler pools.”

Which is, in terms of local pride, pretty cool.


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