Grand Junction’s Kidd adds 500 freestyle to swimming state-qualifying stable

Taylor Kidd has already qualified for the Class 5A state swimming championships in more events than every other swimmer in the Grand Valley combined.

The dominant freshman added the 500-yard freestyle to her long list of qualifying times Friday when she won the preliminary race in 5 minutes, 31.36 seconds during the first day of the two-day Western Slope Championships at El Pomar Natatorium.

After lapping competitors during the first heat, Kidd bounced around anxiously on the side of the pool during the final heats, eventually beating out Montrose’s Amanda Winslow, who swam in the third heat, by four seconds.

Now, the hard part is figuring out which events she’ll swim in at state.

Swimmers are limited to four events at the state meet, and since she’s part of two qualifying relays, choosing between the 500 free, 200 free, 100 free and 100 butterfly is something Kidd wants to leave up to coach Janet Ryan.

“Probably the 200 because that’s my best event,” Kidd said. “Other than that I have no idea. It’s just such a huge deal that we got some relays to qualify because we haven’t sent a relay to state in three or four years.”

Ryan said self-motivation drives Kidd to succeed.

“She’s great to coach,” Ryan said. “She pushes herself and works hard every practice. I can give her sets and she’ll meet all the times I give, plus put in extra work. It’s something other girls see and feed off of.”

Kidd has a similar mindset.

“My first thought is how cold the water is,” Kidd said. “After that I don’t really think about anything else, I just do it. I don’t pay attention to other people, just myself.”

And although the Tigers didn’t have anyone else qualify Friday, they competed with 4A power Montrose, which finished third at the 4A state meet last season.

Montrose won seven of the 11 preliminary events, including clocking qualifying times from Christine Hurford, Logan Morris, Rashyll Leonard and all three relay teams.

But rather than competing against Montrose, the focus for Grand Junction in today’s finals is to qualify the 200-yard medley relay team. Kidd, Marina Silva, Ellen Atkinson, and Olivia Bobillier came up .05 second short of the 2:02.00 qualifying time.

“I want a state time in the medley relay,” Ryan said. “We’ve seen best times all around and they’re so close.” 

Diving preliminaries and finals begin at 9:30 a.m. today, with swimming finals beginning at 2:30 p.m.


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