Prep swimmers eager to compete against Missy Franklin

Prep swimmers eager to compete against Missy Franklin

Taylor Kidd of Grand Junction is excited to be swimming in the same event at the state championships as future Olympian Missy Franklin.

Fruita Monument’s Tamera Newland qualified for state in her first year of diving.


State Swimming

What: Class 5A Swimming and Diving Championships

Where: Edora Pool and Ice Center, Fort Collins.

When: Friday and Saturday

Note: ESPN3 will broadcast the event live online beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. Availability subject to internet provider.

The Class 5A state swim championships are sold out, with ESPN3 airing the finals from Fort Collins, centering on Regis High School’s Missy Franklin, a likely competitor in this summer’s London Olympics.

That only makes Grand Junction freshman Taylor Kidd excited to swim in the same event as Franklin on a national stage.

Sure, ESPN3, which is an online-only feature from the sports network available in select markets, depending on your internet provider, isn’t focusing on Kidd, who qualified for state in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, along with seven other Tigers.

But the 14-year-old will experience lifetime memories at Edora Pool and Ice Center that will include competing in the 200 freestyle along with Franklin, a short-course world record holder in the 100 backstroke.

Kidd is No. 12 in CHSAA’s psych sheets released Tuesday, meaning she qualified for state with the 12th-best time.

Franklin, of course, is No. 1.

If the two meet up in the final, they would be on the ESPN3 broadcast that begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Kidd has swam against Franklin in past club meets.

“She’s such an inspiration,” Kidd said during the Tigers’ Tuesday practice. “She’s so young and isn’t pressured by it at all. She’s holding world records, yet here I am at little Grand Junction, pressured by swimming and she’s not.”

Kidd said in her bedroom are Missy Franklin autographs on a “Catch the Spirit Camp” swimming cap and T-shirt.

Kidd plans to soon be watching the Olympics, knowing she swam with one of the world’s best. Franklin was the 2011 FINA Swimmer of the Year, and, along with her USA Swimming teammates, set a world record in the 400-meter relay.

Franklin also is competing in the 100 backstroke this weekend.

Anchoring the ESPN3 broadcast will be Amy Van Dyken, a former Cherry Creek High School state champion, Colorado State University standout and six-time Olympic gold medal winner.

The Grand Junction girls are excited to be a part of the hoopla.

“I think Missy’s just going to bring more excitement to the whole meet,” Grand Junction coach Janet Ryan said. “Everything’s sold out there. I was hoping my parents were going but we can’t get tickets to it.”

Other Grand Junction qualifiers for the relays are Olivia Bobillier, Marina Silva, Stephanie Wahlers, Ellen Atkinson, Taylor Kochevar and Taylor Wood.

Tigers diver Grayson Young is No. 5 on the psych sheet and Fruita Monument diver Tamera Newland is No. 4.

Both are in their first seasons of diving, and both are former gymnasts.

Young qualified on her final dive at last weekend’s Western Slope Championships.

“I jumped out of the pool crying,” Young said.

Newland qualified on the dive before Young’s.

“This means so much for us qualifying in our first year,” Newland said.

Montrose’s Larissa Grammer also qualified during the league championships. She’ll dive at the Class 4A state meet Friday and Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

“When (Young and Newland) qualified, everyone was there,” Grammer said. “Me and Tamera did gymnastics together so we’re not as much competitors as we are teammates.”

Also qualifying for Montrose are Amanda Winslow (200, 500 freestyles), Logan Morris (200 individual medley), Alyssa Aragon (200 IM), Brooke Gaber (200 IM), Christine Hurford (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Allison Foulk (100 butterfly) and Rashyll Leonard (100 freestyle),

Montrose also qualified in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

But the national story will be the 5A meet, where Kidd and others might have a chance to look in the camera and say, “Hi, Mom!”

Or not.

“I’d just wave,” Kidd said. “Don’t want to make an idiot of myself on national TV.”


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