Kidd’s performance paces Tigers at Fruita Invite

Taylor Kidd could hardly believe her eyes.

The Grand Junction High School sophomore looked at her time on the scoreboard and saw a state-qualifying 55.96 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle — a personal best.

“My coach has been telling me I can go 53, 54 for about a year now,” Kidd said. “I was stuck in that 56-57 range for a really long time. It’s been about a year since I’ve taken off time. I definitely didn’t expect a 55. It felt good.”

She won the 50 freestyle with a state-qualifying time of 25.8 seconds earlier in the Fruita Monument Invitational on Friday at El Pomar Natatorium. This is the first time she has qualified for state in that event.

“It was a good race for me,” Kidd said. “I took off time, which is what I wanted, but I still think I could’ve done better. I was really chopping in the water. I think I was a little too nervous. I think I could’ve done better.”

She led the Tigers to a third-place finish with 430 points. Glenwood Springs won the meet with 488, and Durango was second with 457. The teams return for the Southwestern League Relays at 9:30 a.m. today at El Pomar Natatorium.

Grand Junction coach Janet Ryan wasn’t surprised by Kidd’s results.

“Taylor can do anything,” Ryan said. “She can pretty much swim any race. She’ll have a fantastic year. She’s a hard worker. She puts in a lot of extra hours.”

Kidd is one of nine returning swimmers for the Tigers this season, and while only a sophomore, she has set the pace for the team.

“We’re trying to build,” Ryan said. “The swimmers I had last year are beyond where they were at the start of last year. My new swimmers, I’m so pleased with their progress already. We have a long way to go, but I’m impressed.

“I’m pleased with the team overall. I have a ton of brand new swimmers that dropped a ton of time today. I had girls that couldn’t swim a lap.”

Kidd had developed from a backstroker to mid-distance and is now becoming a competitive sprinter.

“I used to be a backstroker when I was 10 years old,” she said. “I was in the top five at state. It evolved to mid-distance. I couldn’t sprint to save my life. I don’t know what’s changed. I think it’s my attitude more than anything. I’m more carefree, I guess. I want to do well, but I’m not stressed out about it.

“Freestyle is definitely (my event) this year.”

Kidd has several goals this season, but her No. 1 goal isn’t focused on a time or result.

“My main goal is to swim against Missy Franklin at state,” Kidd said. “My best event right now is the 200 freestyle. This year, I want to be top eight, so I can swim in the same heat as Missy Franklin.”

Franklin has become a Colorado icon after winning four gold medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics. She is a senior at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver.


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