No water break: Pool time invaluable to competitive swimmers

Samuel Jordan gets some air Saturday during the boys 11-12 50-meter breaststroke at the Western Slope Long Course Swim Championships. The Grand Junction Dolphins swimmer placed fourth.

Tyler Fair of the Grand Junction Dolphins swims during heat 2 of 2 of the boys ages 11-12 200 LC meter freestyle in the Western Slope Swim Championships at El Pomar Natatorium Saturday. Tyler plaed third with a time of 2:19:74.

The El Pomar Natatorium at Mesa State College is getting plenty of use.

Saturday, nearly 400 swimmers took to the pool for the second day of the Western Slope Long Course Championships.

The Western Slope Long Course Championship meet finishes today, but the pool won’t be quiet for too long with the 2010 Colorado Long Course State Championships beginning at El Pomar on Friday.

The state meet runs through August 1, and also uses Lincoln Park’s Moyer Pool as a venue for the preliminary swims.

“It’s the state meet so it’ll be pretty big,” Grand Junction Dolphins coach Dale Leonhart said. “There could be as many as 50 teams represented by as few as one swimmer and as many as 60 swimmers.”

The state meet is the finale for the club swimming long course season that began in April. The Dolphins have 50 swimmers competing in the Western Slope meet, but only 15 will compete in the state meet.

“(The Western Slope) is the meet we were shooting for,” Leonhart said. “We’ve been looking for a lot of kids to make state cuts at this meet.”

After the state meet, there isn’t much of an offseason in competitive swimming.

The Dolphins have a few swimmers attending the Western Zone Senior Championships in Clovis, Calif., and by September will be preparing for short course competitive meets on the Western Slope.

“State is our big meet, and we’ll take a couple of weeks off after that,” Leonhart said. “Then once the kids get into school, we’ll do some stroke clinics and things like that, but by September we’ll be firing on six or seven of the eight cylinders.”

The amount of time spent in the pool requires a lot of commitment from the athletes.

According to 13-year-old Dolphins swimmer Gustavo Peters, the effort given to swimming is easy because everyone involved loves to compete in the pool.

“I’ve been swimming with the Dolphins since I was five,” Peters said. “So I really love it. (After state) we’ll take a few weeks off, then start again.”

Saturday’s action was broken into two sessions. Some highlights from the morning session included the Dolphins’ girls 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay team of Charlotte Svaldi, Avery Pope, Nicole Hunter and Brielle Thomas taking first in 2:41.47.

Pope also won the 100 butterfly in 1:50.55, and finished second in the 50 backstroke in 45.41.

Montrose’s Christine Hurford won the 13-14 200 butterfly in 3:00.44.

On the boys side, 10-year-old Dolphins swimmer Steven Norris won the 100 butterfly in 1:41.38.

Aspen’s Max Bryant won the boys 13-14 200 IM in 2:33.02, and the Dolphins’ Carlos Matthews won the 200 butterfly in 2:30.20.

In the afternoon, the Dolphins’ Tyler Fair led the way, finishing second in the 100 backstroke in 1:07.66.


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