While winter was doing its best to dump some much-needed snow across Colorado, the Glenwood Springs High School girls swim team was doing its best to drop its times.
The self-funded lady Demons were taking part in the Montrose High School Invitational with 10 other Western Slope teams. Montrose's annual invite is a little different than high school's typical format, with an additional 11 events with distances varying from 50 to 1,000 yards.
One of the many different events of the two-day festival of swimming featured two of Glenwood's seniors, Hannah Grumley and Kierra Kalakewich.
Grumley, a co-captain, and Vail Christian's Kalakewich both attacked early in the 200 back. Grumley finished third, while Kalakewich took nearly two seconds off last year's swim time at the invite to take eighth, out of nearly 30 swimmers.
Fifth and seventh places were earned by senior Rebecca Carcaterra and freshman Hannah Stinson in the 50 fly, with sophomore Mikayla Axtell and junior Olivia Ayers both putting in strong efforts as well.
High school's usual longest distance of 500 yards is doubled at the Montrose Invite, placing Glenwood freshman Jessica Tuttle against the field in the 1,000 free. The freshman dispatched her competition early in an impressive swim, winning by 20 seconds in a time of 11 minutes, 33.69 seconds.
Another freshman that has been tearing up the pools of the Western Slope this season, Kendall Vanderhoof, joined Grumley and sophomore Hannah Peterson in 200 individual medley's top 10. Vanderhoof led the way for the Demons, finishing fourth in 2:26.11 - a time that was shy of the state-qualifying time by .11 seconds - which went down as a lifetime best.
Grumley, who has previously qualified for state in the event, finished not far behind in sixth. Peterson finished in seventh. A fourth member of Glenwood's "Formidable Freshman" - Caylah Newton - cut approximately two seconds off her previous season-best to finish 17th.
Kalakewich, a backstroke specialist for the Demons, found herself in second place out of 45 swimmers at the conclusion of the 50 back.
The 200 free found the senior trio of Lily Thorsen, co-captain Ashley Roper and Carcaterra in the mix. They finished fourth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
One of swimming's most brutal events, the 200 fly, was up next, and guess who was up for the task? If you guessed Tuttle, Glenwood's freshman distance junkie, you guessed correctly. She claimed second place by a deficit of .69, swimming a time of 2:23.83.
With 62 swimmers participating in the 100 free, the Demons placed three in the top 20. Leading the way for the Demons was Vanderhoof, who took second in a time of 59 seconds.
Coal Ridge's Roper looked strong in a fourth-place swim, while junior Mackenzie Fuller finished 17th in a season-best time. Also swimming a season-best time for the Demons was freshman Olivia Dixon, who came through with a four-second slice.
Glenwood continued to place multiple swimmers in the top 10 in the 100 breast. Peterson, the Demons' sophomore fireballer, followed up last week's impressive swim, which missed the state cut by the blink of an eye, with another heartbreaking thriller. This week, she missed by two blinks while finishing fifth.
Ninth place was secured by Thorsen. Newton had yet another notable swim carving an additional two seconds from her season-best time.
Friday ended with the 400 free relay.
Vanderhoof led off her relay in an attempt to earn her first state-qualifying time in the 100 free. In an inspired swim, Vanderhoof swam to within .01 of the 58.1 state-qualifying time for her second miss of the day. Her relay fell off the pace after the leadoff leg.
Glenwood's remaining two relays fared a little better, with Grumley, Stinson, Carcaterra and Tuttle swimming state-qualifying times and finishing second in the process.
The final relay of Roper, senior Grace Gamba, Newton and Peterson rounded out the top 10 for the Demons.
After a long Friday, the Demons were back at it early Saturday morning.
Day 2's first event was the 200 free relay. Peterson, Roper, Gamba and Newton quickly got the team on the books with a ninth-place finish.
Tuttle's return to the pool followed in another ultra event - the 400 IM.
It was a duel between the freshman and Durango's Hannah Chapman. In the end, Chapman made it close, but Tuttle won again in a time of 4:57.36.
The 50 free showcased 70 of the Western Slopes dragsters.
The Demons placed four swimmers in the top 10. Thorsen touched the wall first for the squad, earning fifth place, with Stinson, Kalakewich and Roper finishing eighth through 10th.
Stinson swam a season-best time of 28.7 seconds. Dixon and sophomore Sofia Gamba also swam season-best times.
Peterson, who has been toying with state-qualifying times in multiple events, came out of nowhere to steal the fourth spot in the 100 back and swim her best time, while coming within half-second of the state time. Kalakewich and Roper attained seventh and ninth.
By entering the 200 breast, Grumley swam a race outside her comfort zone in order to help out her 200 IM.
Swimming against the 2012 Class 4A state champion 100 breastroker, Logan Morris, Grumley held her own while working on her form to gain fourth.
Also in the event for the Demons, Ayers continued her campaign for most improved swimmer of the year by obliterating more than 17 seconds from her previous best time.
The 500 free had two of Glenwood's "Formidable Freshies" in it - Vanderhoof and Stinson.
With Vanderhoof already having a meet for the ages, she picked up where she left off with another strong swim. The freshman slipped under the state-qualifying time to punch her ticket in Class 4A and earn Glenwood's swimmer of the meet honors. Stinson added a fourth-place finish.
Thorsen, Carcaterra and Newton garnered more top spots for Glenwood in the 100 IM, in which a contestant swims one length of each stroke discipline. The two seniors finished third and fourth, with the freshman finishing 13th.
The next event on tap was the 50 breast. Tuttle and Vanderhoof once again dove into the pool with medals on the mind. The ladies ended up second and fifth when all was swum and done.
The last individual event of the weekend was the 100 fly. Grumley, Peterson and Carcaterra all competed.
With a state-qualifying time of 1:04.61, Grumley finished second. Peterson claimed fourth, just above the state time, and Carcaterra hit the wall in 11th to once again put three Demons in the points.
Kalakewich, Peterson, Tuttle and Grumley along with Roper, Carcaterra, Vanderhoof and Thorsen teamed up to bring home third and fourth in the two-day meet's last event - the 400 medley relay.
After 23 events, Glenwood finished up third in the team standings with 420 points. Durango won the team title with 520 and Montrose rounded out the podium in second with 481.