Griffins taking strong team to state swimming meet

District 51 swimmer Carlos Matthews swims to a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle Saturday during the Western Slope Championships at El Pomar Natatorium. Matthews will be swiming at the state competition in both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events.

The District 51 Griffins swim team is planning for a busy weekend.

The Griffins are competing in every event except the breaststroke in the Class 5A state championships Friday and Saturday at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins.

“We have a good group,” District 51 coach Dale Leonhart said. “We have a potential of scoring much more than we have in years past.

“If we connect, we can be in the top 10.”

Friday’s prelims begin at 4 p.m. at EPIC, with Saturday’s finals at 2 p.m.

District 51 qualified in all three relays. In freestyle events, Tyler Walton has qualified in the 50-yard and 100 freestyle. Freshman Carlos Matthews qualified in the 200 and 500 freestyle.

Tyler Fair qualified in the 100 individual medley, Austin Acree is in the 100 butterfly and Cyrus Pearo is in the 100 backstroke.

The Griffins’ 200 medley relay team features Acree, Fair, Pearo and Eric Jacobs.

The Griffins’ 200 and 400 freestyle relay is made up of Fair, Walton, Pearo and Acree.

“You have to be ready to go from the first practice and work hard to get to the final goal,” Walton said. “Everyone who’s going to state is ready.”

Walton has qualified for state all four years of high school.

“I’m more nervous than I have been,” Walton said. “I swam really well (at the Western Slope Championships) so I have to show up and do what I do best.”

Matthews is the only freshman competing in the meet for the Griffins. His season best time in the 200 was 1:51.39, and his best time was 5:03.57 in the 500.

“I’ve been swimming with (Leonhart) for a while, but this is going to be more of a team atmosphere,” Matthews said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

It’s the second time this season the Griffins are swimming at EPIC.

“Everyone has been there at least two or three times in their lives,” Walton said. “It’s not as fast as (Mesa State College’s El Pomar Natatorium), but it’s a good solid pool.”

Class 4A

The Montrose swim team has “home field” advantage.

Well, it’s more of a home pool advantage for the Class 4A state championships at El Pomar Natatorium at Mesa State College.

Prelims begin Friday at 4 p.m, with finals at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to being close,” Montrose coach Silas Almgren said. “It’s the best pool in the state and anyone who argues that hasn’t seen it.”

The Indians have competed at El Pomar three times this season.

“It’s a quick pool,” Almgren said. “Every pool you compete in is different, and we hope we’ve gained an advantage.”

The Indians have nine state qualifiers, including two divers, Drew Herder and Kyle Rogers.

“The divers have done the work and it’ll be fun to see them,” Almgren said.

Of the seven swimmers who qualified, six are swimming in at least two events.

Graehme Hilding is in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, Michael Barnosky is in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke and Derek Slone is in the 200 and 100 freestyle.

Dustin Cooper is the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke, Koysta Callihan is the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle, and Ryon Rowan is the 100 breast.

The Indians also have all three relays qualified.

“They are all at a level where they can make big strides,” Almgren said. “They are a fun group, and have found a way to get together quickly.”


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