In the swim of things

Durango, Indians dominate Montrose Invitational, Grand Junction, Fruita Monument steadily improving

Fruita Monument High School junior Kailey Shabelski competes in the final heat of the 500-yard freestyle finals Saturday during the Montrose Invitational.



Grand Junction High School’s Amy Bergen completes the butterfly leg Saturday during the fourth heat of the 100-yard individual medley of the Montrose Invitational at the Montrose Aquatic Center.



With Durango and Montrose combining to win 15 of 23 events, high places were hard to come by for the other nine schools at the Montrose Invitational girls swimming and diving meet Saturday.

But Grand Junction and Fruita Monument snuck in a few fine performances to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.

Durango won 11 events en route to 520 points and the team championship. Montrose won four events to finish second in the team standings with 481 points. Glenwood Springs was third with 420.

Grand Junction’s lone win came from Taylor Kidd, who claimed the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 5.63 seconds. She also placed third in three individual events, the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and 100 butterfly. Marina Silva in the 50 free, Taylor Kochevar in the 50 breaststroke and Grayson Young in 1-meter diving (11 dives) added third-place finishes for the Tigers.

Grand Junction’s relays also fared well, placing second in the 200 free and third in the 200 medley and 400 free.

“I thought they did awesome,” Tigers assistant coach Katie Fransioli said of her team, acknowledging Durango and Montrose were the dominant teams in the meet. “Lots of our girls dropped tons of time, even from last week. I was really impressed with how much time our girls dropped on an overall basis.”

Fransioli said Kidd showed significant improvement and credited it in part to practice.

“She’s been working on her starts, getting off the block more quickly, and you could see that today,” Fransioli said. “She really stepped up, and you could really see it in her 200 free.”

Fransioli said the Tigers’ 200 medley relay was one-eighth of a second from qualifying for state and the 200 free relay was one second off the state-qualifying standard.

“We’re getting there. We’re so close,” she said. “We’ll get it.”

Fruita Monument didn’t win any events, but Wildcats coach Jessica Haley was thrilled with the second-place finish by Tamera Newland in the 11-dive, 1-meter diving, which earned her a berth in the Class 5A state meet.

Newland finished with 358.75 points, a total bettered only by Montrose’s Larissa Grammer with 364.15 points.

It was Fruita’s fourth meet of the season, but Newland’s first, because she also is a member of the high school’s pom squad and had other commitments when the Wildcats had meets. That made her performance Saturday even more impressive.

“She blew it away,” Haley said of the state-qualifying standard. “She did an excellent job.”

Fruita Monument also got second-place finishes from Morgan Hoffman in the six-dive, 1-meter diving and Kathryn McConnell in the 500 free. McConnell took third in the 200 backstroke and Kailey Shabelski was third in the 500 free.

“Kathryn McConnell had a really great meet,” Haley said. “And Kailey Shabelski did fabulous. She did not think she did very well, but she swam 6:23 (in the 500 free) at Durango (two weeks ago), and she was (under) 6:17 today.”


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