Grand Junction swimmer Schlagel wants to go to state

Kelsey Schlagel starts the 50 m freestyle sprint.

It’s a good bet to assume expectations are high when first-place finishes aren’t good enough.

After touching the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke at Saturday’s triangular with Glenwood Springs and Moffat County, Grand Junction swimmer Kelsey Schlagel still seemed unimpressed.

“I need to cut my times, because my 100 breast is a little slow,” she said. “I want to make state cuts and I need to take off a least a second.”

Schlagel’s time of 1 minute, 13.39 seconds in the breaststroke Saturday is still above the 1:12.80 required to get to state. Regardless, Schlagel put together an impressive race Saturday, besting the rest of the field by more than 15 seconds. Schlagel won the 50-yard freestyle with a 26.47, which is .47 seconds off of the 26.00 state-cut time.

“Kelsey did OK, and she is still fading a bit on the end, so she needs to work and she knows that,” Grand Junction coach Dale Leonhart said. “She will make state cuts as she should, but she knows how far away she is, so she has her work cut out for her.”

Schlagel’s efforts helped the Tigers split the triangular meet defeating Moffat County 143-78 and falling to Glenwood Springs 128-120. The Demons won the meet as they defeated the Bulldogs 145-78.

Leonhart said he was happy with the way the Tigers ended the first half of the season.

“There was good improvement, and we are getting a little tougher,” Leonhart said. “They are getting the idea, and are starting to challenge themselves on the front end to stay tougher on the back end.”

Leonhart also guessed that the team had 70 percent best times during the meet. The strong performance in the pool showed as the Tigers won the 200-yard medley relay. Other Grand Junction swimmers to win their events were Noelle De Puey in the 200-yard individual medley (2:37.27) and 500-yard freestyle (6:15.90), and Lyndi Hoffman in the 100-yard backstroke (1:18.81).

“With this meet, we want to number one swim faster, and we did that,” Leonhart said. “But our second goal was to have some fun, and I think we did that too.”

The Tigers return after the holiday break to swim Jan. 9 at Montezuma-Cortez.

In Delta, Fruita Monument and Palisade/Central took on the Panthers, with the Wildcats coming out on top with a total team score of 288.

In her final meet as a Wildcat, Emily Nightingale had a strong performance, finishing first in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:14.43. She also finished first in the 50-yard freestyle (27.75) and 100-yard freestyle (1:01.43).

Nightingale is moving back to Texas with her family, but made her mark in her short time as a Wildcat. She also was a part of the Wildcat relay teams that won the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle.

Delta finished second with a 158 and Palisade/Central finished third at 109.


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