Griffins advance freestyle relay teams into consolation round

Montrose’s Derek Slone competes Friday in the 500-yard freestyle heat during the Class 4A state championships.

FORT COLLINS — It was a less than stirring beginning for the District 51 boys swim team in the first day of the Class 5A state finals on Friday.

Yet the Griffins didn’t let disappointment at the outset ruin their day.

The District 51 team opened the 5A finals at the Edora Pool and Ice Center by narrowly missing a berth in today’s consolation heat of the medley relay. The Griffins shook off that setback to advance both freestyle relay teams into the consolation round.

District 51 junior Ty Walton also advanced to the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle after finishing ninth.

“We had a good day,” Griffins coach Dale Leonhart said. “It was disappointing not to get that medley back. We are capable of swimming that faster. We just had the jitters or whatever. We were just a little bit tight. But as the meet went on, we swam better.

“I’m pleased with our finish. Now at least we have something to do (Saturday). It just wasn’t quite clicking on that first race, but it’s gratifying that we were able to pull ourselves back together and do what I thought we were capable of doing all along.”

Despite finishing just outside the consolation finals, the Griffins’ medley relay team still shaved nearly a full second off its qualifying time of 1 minute, 44.58 seconds, finishing in 1:43.59.

That effort set the stage for District 51’s performance the rest of the way. Walton finished his 100 freestyle race in 48.91 seconds, missing the final slot of the championship heat by less than half a second.

“Last weekend I went 48.7 and I went into the meet ninth, so it is kind of disappointing to add time,” Walton said. “But staying the same seed was kind of cool. That’s all I wanted to do — come back in the top eight — and it didn’t happen. I was so close.”

Walton, though, was the key figure in the Griffins’ freestyle relay teams, both of which will be competing in today’s consolation heats.

The 200 freestyle relay team of Nick Neste, Walton, Ian Smith and Taylor Fisher squeezed into the consolation race by finishing 16th with a time of 1:31.82, taking more than two seconds off their qualifying time of 1:33.35.

The 400 freestyle relay team, which featured the same group with Tyler Fair substituted for the anchor leg, also finished 16th with a time of 3:24.57. That mark was an impressive 4.49 seconds better than their qualifying time of 3:29.06.

At the Class 4A meet at Mountain View High School in Loveland, Montrose swam well but didn’t land anyone in the finals. The Indians were able to bring back all three of their relays in the consolation finals. The 200-yard medley finished 12th, the 200-yard freestyle relay finished 13th, and the 400-free finished 14th.

The Indians had three individuals make the consolation finals as Jake Link, Dustin Cooper and Michael Barnosky all finished top 16 in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The meet continues today with diving prelims starting at 9 a.m., and all the finals beginning at 2 p.m.


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