Griffins use individual points to help team
Sometimes it’s hard to think of swimming as a team sport.
That was not that case on Saturday as the District 51 Griffins hosted their season opening meet at Orchard Mesa Community Pool, a set of relays.
“You’ve always got some pressure on you (individually) since you’re part of the team and you’re scoring points for the team as a whole,” sophomore Cyrus Pearo said. “But on the relays it’s definitely more connected since you’re racing with guys and you can’t let them down.”
“In a relay meet it’s the total team concept,” Griffin coach Dale Leonhart said.
“The individual aspect of the meet is minimalized, but the team atmosphere is magnified.
That’s why we like to start our season off with this meet, because it’s a great team builder.”
In order to get lots of swimmers the chance to get in the water, Leonhart split his team in to two squads, the District 51 Black and District 51 Green, with the green taking second place in the meet and black taking third.
The Green Squad was able to start on a positive note with a team of Pearo, Jeff Sederlin,
Brett Scott and Kyle Mahoney winning the 200-yard medley relay, the first event of the meet.
The Black Squad of Sam Leonhart, Nate Sellers, Ben Krane and Heath McElroy finished second.
As the meet went on, though, the Griffins found themselves placing behind the eventual meet winner, Durango. The green team placed second to the Demons in the 400 medley relay, the 200 backstroke relay, the 500 free relay, and the final event, the 400 free relay.
The green did end up beating Durango in the 500 butterfly relay, and finished 42 points behind the Demons in the final standings.
Durango also was the sole finisher of the 200 backstroke relay, as four of the five teams in the event were disqualified.
“In a relay meet, reliability for disqualifications is very high and we only lost a couple of teams, so I was real pleased with that,” Leonhart said.
“We didn’t really lose anybody because of stroke or turn infractions, we lost them on relay exchanges — kids getting too excited and jumping before the guy in the water finished, and
I’ll take that. I want them to be aggressive.”
The meet also had teams swimming from Montrose, Delta, Moffat County and Glenwood Springs, who took the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh places.
Montrose won the 200 free relay and was able to win in a tight race in the 200 breaststroke relay, beating District 51’s green squad by only 1.26 seconds, with Graehme Hilding touching the wall just before Andy Hoeckel.
Pearo said the meet had a much more relaxed environment than most meets.
“Today there’s not a whole lot of pressure because it’s kind of a warm-up,” Pearo said.
“It gives the first-year kids a taste of what competing is like. It’s mainly just a big warm-up to get everyone in the swing of things.”
The Griffins host Delta and Montrose Saturday at Orchard Community Mesa Pool.