Shortest race requires long answer from swimmers

If you want to swim the 50-yard freestyle for the Montrose High School boys swim team, it comes with a caveat:

To swim the shortest race, you have to swim the longest race.

Otherwise, Montrose coach Silas Almgren explained, “Everyone will choose the 50.”

Count the Indians’ Clay Zentmeyer among the undeterred. Then count him among the swimmers who are just plain fast in the water regardless of the race’s length.

In the Indians’ season-opening dual against the District 51 Griffins, Zentmeyer won the 50 and the 500 freestyles, both in times that easily qualified him for the Class 4A state meet: 22.35 seconds and 5 minutes, 10.03 seconds.

“It’s a nice, early season display of some of the options that are available to him,” Almgren said.

But Zentmeyer will pursue the sprints for state competition, his coach said, adding, “He’s a 200, 100 guy, maybe the 50. No question he’ll go in the 200.”

Zentmeyer placed 12th in the 200 freestyle at state last year, and he swam a leg on the Indians’ third-place 200 medley relay and their seventh-place 400 freestyle relay.

Almgren felt compelled to mention the times came at Colorado Mesa University’s El Pomar Natatorium, “probably the fastest pool in the state,” he said.

Taking down another sport

Seeing the name Jacob Solseth among the Montrose boys swimmers in the dual with District 51 rang a bell. Isn’t that the stud wrestler from Olathe?

Yep. Solseth placed second at 132 pounds in February’s Class 3A state wrestling meet.

But the real reason it stood out is: Finding a wrestler on a swim team is kind of like finding a diamond in your oatmeal.

But think about it. Why wouldn’t a wrestler swim? Swimming gives you a cardiovascular workout for endurance and an overall body workout for muscle development.

Almgren said that ought to be a great selling point, and he gets a few wrestlers to take to the pool. Besides Solseth, he has senior Jason Cooper on the team. Cooper’s main sport is wrestling, Almgren said, but injuries kept Cooper off the mat this past season.

“Everybody wants to recruit big, long, tall kids, but my favorite kid is the one who comes to workouts every day — and works. And that’s what wrestlers do,” Almgren said.

Solseth “became a swimmer as a little guy,” Almgren added. “He’s been in our program all four years of high school.”

Solseth doesn’t get enough pool time year-round to realize his potential as a swimmer, but if he did, “He’d be in a fairly elite category,” Almgren said.

Statement with the stick

Troy Levinson did not open the season as a starter for the Palisade baseball team, but his first opportunity to swing the bat changed that. Now, the junior not only starts at third base, he’s batting third in the order.

Levinson leads Palisade in batting average (.583) and on-base percentage (.684) and is second on the team in hits (seven), runs (10), runs batted in (seven) and walks (six). He has not struck out in 19 plate appearances for the 4-1 Bulldogs.

Palisade coach Steve Moore said Levinson works the count and either hits the ball hard or draws a walk.

“He’s a hard out,” Moore said. “He’s just hitting the ball where it’s pitched. He’s just seeing the ball really well and is doing a great job for us.”

Moore said Levinson worked hard in the offseason, and Levinson confirmed he attended hitting and conditioning workouts twice a week and was among a group of players, with no coaches present, who hit for two hours every Sunday.

That work, he said, carried into the season. He said he didn’t know where he’d fit in because of the team’s depth, but, “I knew if I had a shot, I could come through and help the team. But I was more concerned about what’s going to be the best lineup for the team.”

Praiseworthy performances

Grand Junction track and field coach Sean Henry could have lauded the obvious athletes from his team for their winning performances at the Mickey Dunn Invitational last week and left it at that.

Whitney Jackson, Madison Marsh and Sydni Brandon powered the Grand Junction girls to a second-place team finish, and on the boys side Deshaun Harris tossed the discus and shot put farther than anyone else.

But performances that impressed Henry that day also came from lesser-known newcomers to the program: Erika Meister and Brody Cupp.

Meister, a junior, is in her first year of track, and Henry said, “She runs her tail off in every event: the mile, 800 and 4 by 4 (1,600-meter relay).”

Meister placed fifth in the 1,600-meter run (5:49.37), seventh in the 800 (2:36.66) and helped the 1,600 relay place sixth in the 21-team meet.

Cupp is a freshman sprinter who was only 18th in the 100 (12.18), but he tied for third in the 200 (23.93).

“He’s one to watch in the years to come,” Henry said, adding that technique, getting his arms under control and running more relaxed, will help Cupp bring his times down.

Tim Harty is The Daily Sentinel sports and recreation editor. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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