Griffins’ coach pleased with strong finish at state swimming meet

FORT COLLINS — It certainly was an inauspicious start for the District 51 boys swim team.

The Griffins entered the finals of the Class 5A swim meet Saturday with much enthusiasm, eyeing an opportunity to shave their times in the five consolation heats in which the team was competing.

Yet perhaps the greatest credit to the Griffins is they did not pack it in after beginning the meet with a huge disappointment, getting disqualified from the meet-opening event in the 200 freestyle relay.

While the setback certainly blindsided District 51, it did not diminish the resolve of the young Griffins, who received solid individual swims from Tyler Walton and Sam Leonhart to help lead District 51 into a tie for 21st-place in the team standings, finishing with 20 points alongside Chatfield and Green Mountain in a meet won by Regis for the 15th consecutive season.

“They gave it their best shot,” District 51 coach Dale Leonhart said. “I think that (Friday’s preliminaries) was really a better day. (Friday) we were best times top to bottom coming on the heels of a conference meet where we did the same thing. They weren’t quite as sharp today,  but they hung in there and they swam tough, and that’s all you can ever ask. ”

Walton finished fifth in the consolation heat of the individual medley and placed 13th overall with a time of 2 minutes, 4.14 seconds, almost a three-second setback from his preliminary time of 2:01.33. Walton enjoyed a better result in the 100 freestyle, dropping his preliminary time of 48.87 seconds to 48.54 and finishing second in the consolation heat and 10th overall.

Sam Leonhart essentially equaled his preliminary time in the 100 backstroke, finishing 14th with a time of 55.91 seconds. The Griffins ended the meet by finishing 14th in the 400 freestyle relay but once again failed to improve on their preliminary time of 3:20.72, finishing in 3:21.47.

“We really did well, but we could have done better,” Walton said. “ We have only one senior at state this year, so we’ll be state-tough and we should do even better when we come back next year.”

At the 4A swim meet in Loveland, Moffat County’s Cole Worsley won the 50-yard freestyle clocking in at 21.22. Worsley also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly at 50.98. He helped Moffat finish the highest of any Western Slope school coming in 16th place at 37 team points.


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