No sight, no problem

Water-filled goggles don't slow Kidd, Tigers

Clutching her first-place ribbon, Tamera Newland of Fruita Monument cries tears of joy as she stands on the podium after winning the Western Slope Conference Championships diving competition. The junior took the title with a score of 390.05.

Swimming the final freestyle leg Saturday, she bobbed her head out of the water, and, through the right section of her goggles that was half full of water, spotted a garbled patch of the dark red and black flags above. She knew she was almost to the wall at El Pomar Natatorium.

But Taylor Kidd could hardly see.

“When I tried to breathe I could see where I was,” Kidd said. “I’ve swam in this pool so long I can tell where I am.”

She maintained top speed and touched the wall with perfect timing during the Western Slope Conference Championships, and the Grand Junction relay that also included Marina Silva, Jessica Deters and Ellen Atkinson qualified for the Class 5A state swimming championships the Friday and Saturday in Fort Collins.

In Friday’s preliminaries of the 400-yard freestyle relay, Kidd said her goggles were completely full of water. On a downward stroke, she swiped the goggles off her eyes. She swam the final lap with goggles wenched under her chin. She said she exited the pool coughing.

Just something to overcome for the Tigers, who also qualified for state in the 200 medley relay, placing fifth. Atkinson, Kidd, Silva and Taylor Kochevar teamed on that relay.

Glenwood Springs won the championship with 424 points to Durango’s 423. The win came down to a few of the final swimmers in the 400 freestyle relay as Glenwood’s Ashley Roper out-touched Elli Earl of Durango for sixth place.

Montrose, which scored 343 points, took third. Grand Junction placed fourth (276 points), Fruita Monument sixth (153) and Central/Palisade 10th in the 12-team field.

Montrose’s Logan Morris and Brooke Gaber took first and second, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke. Both qualified for the 4A state meet Friday and Saturday in Thornton.

Morris also placed second in the 200 individual medley, qualifying for state with a time of 2 minutes, 15.06 seconds. In the Indians’ 200 medley relay that placed third and qualified for state, Morris swam the second leg. Other members were: Mara Gabriel, Allison Foulk and Callie Storter.

Fruita Monument’s Tamera Newland, who already had qualified for state, took first in diving with a total score of 390.05 points. Montrose’s Larissa Grammer took second (351.10), followed by Grand Junction’s Grayson Young (330.95), and Fruita Monument’s Morgan Hoffman (328.56).

Newland said her best dive was a front two-and-a-half. She also felt her luck had returned. At the recent District 51 Championships, Newland said she was without her stuffed cow, “Milkshake.” She’d had her good-luck charm for about nine years.

“I had a panic attack,” Newland said. “I had my parents go home and get it so that mentally I could have him to help me through.”

She did not panic Saturday. The brown-and-white stuffed cow was there along with a large crowd. For some of the swimmers such as Fruita’s Kailey Shabelski, it was the largest crowd they’d experienced.

“We’ve just been racing all season, just trying to make it to state,” said Shabelski, a freshman who won a consolation final heat in the 100 breaststroke, “so we came here to show it off, because it’s the best turnout (of fans) we’ve ever had.”

For Central/Palisade, Mallory Wolf placed seventh in diving with a score of 288.55.

The WarDogs’ 200 freestyle relay team of Liz Cottingham, Currey Ventling, Karolina Latek and Kyra Newhous placed eighth.


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