Team Sopris Swimming, the local club competitive swim team for youth ages 5 and up, traveled to the University of Denver Nov. 30-Dec. 2 for the CSI Pioneer Open meet, which was hosted by Colorado Swimming.
Seventeen swimmers from the team competed in the meet.
Swimmers 11 and over competed in a prelims/finals format, with preliminary heats in the morning and finals heats taking place in the evening.
The 10-and-under age group competed midday, between the prelims and finals. Approximately 850 swimmers total were entered in the meet, representing all areas of Colorado.
"For our older swimmers, this meet is a great midseason check to see how our training is going," said Team Sopris head coach Damon Garrison. "We do a short rest leading up to the meet, so it gives us a nice peek into what our end-of-season championships are going to look like. Based on many of our swims this weekend, I am optimistic about the rest of our short-course season.
"We had some pretty significant drops in times from several athletes. Zeb Thorsen took time off in every event and Jack Cassidy swam best yards times in nearly every event as well. LJ Fetzko swam a great 1,650 and Jessica Tuttle was solid all weekend, with some great finals races, especially her 200 freestyle. Zoe Lyon and Lauren Murphy represented our 11-12 age group really well."
Many Team Sopris swimmers made the finals.
"The goal of a prelims/finals meet is to make it back for finals, which many swimmers did consistently throughout the weekend," Garrison noted. "In prelims, you're swimming for time and for a spot in the top eight, 16 or 24. In finals, it's all about racing and you're competing for place. It's great experience for all of our swimmers, and we had some impressive finals swims.
"For our 10-and-under swimmers, this meet gives them an opportunity to compete in a larger format and against different kids. They are forced to be a little more independent on deck, getting to the blocks in time for their races, for example, which is going to help them throughout their swimming career. It's also good for them to see where they stack up against the rest of the state. I was proud of how all our younger swimmers handled the more intimidating setting."
After a very busy November, Team Sopris has a break in competition before their next meet, which is Jan. 5-6 in Aurora. But that doesn't mean the team will be slacking off over the holidays.
"Our junior and senior swimmers will be cranking up the intensity of their practices while doing doubles over our holiday 'break,'" Garrison concluded.
Information about Team Sopris, including practice schedules, meet schedules, tryout times and more, can be found on the team's website at www.teamsopris.org.