Walton leads Griffins to triangular win

Tyler Walton missed the first two meets of the season with a broken finger, but he’s off to a fast start now that he’s back in the water.

The Grand Junction High School senior posted state-qualifying times in one individual event and was on two state-qualifying relay teams Wednesday to led the District 51 Griffins to wins over Moffat County and Gunnison at El Pomar Natatorium.

The Griffins defeated Moffat County 189-77 and Gunnison 198-54. Moffat County defeated Gunnison 121-68.

Walton qualified for state in the 50-yard freestyle, winning the race in 22.63 seconds. He was on the first-place 200 and 400 freestyle relays that posted qualifying times and just to prove he can, won the 500 freestyle in 5 minutes, 27.66 seconds.

“I think our relays swam well,” Walton said. “We pretty much had an even split between the four of us on the 200 freestyle.

“In the 50 free, I put my nose to the grindstone and went for it. I took one breath. It felt horrible and good at the same time.”

Teammate Cyrus Pearo, who was on the two state-qualifying relays, qualified for state in the 100 butterfly with a first-place time of 57.35 seconds.

Tyler Fair and Carlos Matthews were on both state-qualifying relays.

The Griffins had several other good swims in only their third meet of the season.

“We had a boatload of improved times,” District 51 coach Dale Leonhart said. “I’m pleased.”

Matthews took first place in the 200 freestyle (2:00.43) and the 100 freestyle (54.27). Cade Chapin won the 100 backstroke in 1:08.51. District 51’s 200 medley relay took first in 1:55.20.


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