Matthews hoping to shrink times for Far Western swim meet

Carlos Matthews of the Grand Junction Dophins catches a breath as he races to the other end of the pool during the boys 50-meter freestyle race at Friday’s Western Slope League Championships. Matthews finished second with a time of :28.93.



By KENT MINCER

Carlos Matthews has achieved qualifying times for the Far Western swim meet in two events.

He’d like to get one more cut before the meet, which begins in Palo Alto, Calif., on July 29.

The Grand Junction Dolphins swimmer had a couple of more chances at achieving the qualifying time for 13 to 14 year-olds.

This weekend’s meet may be his best chance. After all, he’s swimming in his home pool.

The first day of the Western Slope League Championships, hosted by the Dolphins, began on Friday at Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool.

Matthews swam in three events. He won the boys 13-14-year-old 400-meter individual medley in 5 minutes, 40.74 seconds, winning by more than three seconds. He took second in the 50 freestyle to Gunnison’s Alex Schliesman and second to Schliesman in the 200 backstroke.

Schliesman wasn’t the only swimmer to win two events on Friday. Montrose’s Emily Stucky (15-and-older girls) and Zach Milner (11-12 boys) took titles in two events, as did Lauren Fetzko (10-and-under girls), Ashley Roper (13-14 girls) and Kevin Morgan (15-and-older boys ) of Sopris, a Glenwood Springs team.

The Hurford family of Montrose also dominated Friday’s finals, with Daniel taking two events in the 10-and-under boys division and Christine winning twice in the 11-12 girls division.

Also earning first place for the Dolphins was Tim Leonhart. The University of Utah junior took the boys 15-and-older 50 freestyle by more than a half-second in 27 seconds flat.

After earning qualifying marks in the 200 butterfly and the 50 freestyle, Matthews thinks his best chance at swimming in a third event in Palo Alto is the 100 freestyle.

“I’m two seconds off,” he said.

He competed in the Far Western meet as a 12-year-old last year, so he knows the swimmers he faces this time around are two years older and stronger than the ones he faced last year.

“They’re going to get tougher and tougher,” he said of the competition after moving up an age division this year, “but I’ll push through.”

Next week, Matthews and many of his Dolphins teammates will be in Fort Collins for the 2009 state championships.

This weekend, “It’s about better times and just having fun,” he said. He added, however, “I’m still going to try to get another Far West(ern) cut.”

Today’s Western Slope meet schedule begins at 8:15 a.m. with preliminaries. Finals start at 1:45 p.m. The three-day meet concludes Sunday with a time schedule similar to Saturday’s.


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