Shaving time, qualifying for state on swimmers’ minds

Kelsey Schlagel qualifies for state in the 200 Freestyle

It’s time for one final push toward the state swim meet for the Grand Valley swim teams.

The Western Slope Championships are Friday and Saturday in Durango, the last opportunity for girls to qualify for the state tournament.
State is Feb. 12-14 at the Edora Pool and Ice Center Swim Compled in Fort Collins.

“I think a few of them are very nervous because this is a high stakes meet,” Fruita Monument coach Jessica Haley said. “But we are going into it with the mind frame of this is our last meet so let’s have a good time and let’s just have fun, because when we have fun we swim well.”

Kelsey Schlagel of Grand Junction is the only valley swimmer to qualify for state so far. The Tigers’ senior qualified in the 200-yard freestyle during the District 51 meet but hopes to add more events this weekend.

“I am still trying to make it in the 50 free and 100 free,” Schlagel said. “I try to get as many cuts as I can every year.”

In Durango, swimmers hope they can shave off the necessary time to qualify. Fruita Monument’s Teddi Larson has been attempting to qualify in the 50 freestyle.

The event that tests a swimmer’s ability to sprint in the pool is Larson’s best, but she is still roughly two seconds away from the 26.00 time needed to get in. Teammate Leah Temple is also close to qualifying in the event.

Haley said there is no magic formula to shaving time off.

“It is putting together a good race,” Haley said. “If they are getting to bed before 10:30 (p.m.) and are eating right, that is going to help, but it comes down to did they have a good start, were their turns right and did they put their heart into it?”

The Fruita swimmers are not alone in being close to state cuts.

Palisade/Central’s Teddy Hayes and Sadie Patton are both trying to qualify the 50 freestyle and are close to hitting the cut.

Hayes is close in the 100 freestyle with her best time about one second above the 56.60 needed.

“They are nervous, but they are well-rested,” Palisade/Central coach Steve Weir said. “In the 50 free, you have to have the perfect race. You can’t miss on the start or the turn.”

Weir said Hayes and Patton are the team’s best chance to qualify for state but the 200 freestyle relay has an outside chance.

The two-day meet begins Friday with preliminary races with the finals Saturday. Other teams competing are Aspen, Montezuma-Cortez, Delta, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison, Moffat County and Montrose.

All the teams have been taking the proper measures to ensure good races this weekend.

By tapering off the intensity of daily training, the coaches figure by Friday, all the swimmers should be rested enough to put up their best times.

“With our tapers, we don’t swim as much, so they can get that recovery time,” Haley said.

“We also do a lot of mental preparation. We will walk through races, because they have the physical training at this point. It is not getting psyched out with the race.”


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