Swim fans, the self-funded Lady Demons are back.
The 2012-13 girls swim season began Friday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center for the high school women of the water. Glenwood hosted Aspen, Moffat County, Montrose and Summit at the Lady Demons Invite.
After Kierra Kalakewich and freshman Caylah Newton wowed the crowd by belting out the national anthem, the Demons' season commenced.
The ladies hit the pool swimming, so to speak, in the 200 medley relay with two of the home teams relays finishing in the top eight. Kalakewich, Newton, Hannah Grumley and Ashley Roper finished second, while Grace Gamba, Olivia Ayers, Mikayla Axtell and Mackenzie Fuller took seventh.
It took freshman Kendall Vanderhoof little time to let the Western Slope know she was going to be someone to be reckoned with all season. In her first high school swim, she won the 200 freestyle in a time of 2 minutes, 9.16 seconds, just shy of the 4A state mark.
Roper, the Demons' senior co-captain, coasted to a second-place finish and Ayers, a junior who was named Glenwood's swimmer of the meet, snuck into the top 10 in 10th.
The 200 individual medley showcased two more of Glenwood's freshmen, Hannah Stinson and Newton. The young ladies both cracked the top 10 in their first solo high school swims, with Stinson grabbing the fourth spot and Newton nabbing eighth.
Swimming's drag race, the 50 free, was exciting as always, with the last heat's swimmers all converging on the wall at once for a photo finish.
Kalakewich, a Vail Christian senior, touched second in the melee. Axtell, a sophomore, swam a best time to get seventh.
Two other notable swims in the event for Glenwood were from Gamba, a senior, swimming a best time and freshman Olivia Dixon, a first-time swimmer in her first meet - she swam like a veteran, nailing her flip turn.
Grumley, Glenwood's second captain, took to the pool in her final season as a Demon in one of her favorite events - the 100 butterfly. Grumley swam neck and neck with Moffat's Eryn Leonard throughout the race, but came up a tad short at the final wall. Nevertheless, the senior swam to Glenwood's lone state qualifying time of 1:03.56.
The 100 free beckoned Vanderhoof back to the pool. The freshman outswam the field for her second win of the day in a time of 59.95.
The ultra distance of high school swimming, the 500 free, was controlled by Stinson. She set a pace that the competition could not handle, winning the event by more than 45 seconds.
Kalakewich, the elder stateswoman of the 200 free relay, teamed with Axtell, Stinson and Vanderhoof, to win the event in a tightly contested match between Glenwood and Montrose. Junior Jessie Cruz and Ayers, along with Dixon and Newton, managed to swipe the eighth spot.
The Demons swam strong in the 100 back, placing three ladies in the top 10. Leading the way for Glenwood was Coal Ridge's Roper in a close second, with Kalakewich not far behind in third. Fuller, a junior, snuck in for a 10th-place finish.
Grumley entered the 100 breast with the mindset of improving her stroke to help her IM for the future. The senior finished fourth while refining her stroke. Newton culminated her first high school meet with an eighth place, while Ayers destroyed her lifetime best by nine seconds to earn 12th.
Glenwood concluded the meet by dominating the pool in the 400 free relay. Vanderhoof and Stinson combined with Roper and Grumley to seize Glenwood's first relay state birth in a time of 4:03.01.
Montrose took the title at this year's Lady Demons Invite, with Glenwood finishing in second place. The team travels to Grand Junction next weekend to swim at the Fruita Invite on Friday and the Southwest League Relays on Saturday.