Barracudas’ Mechling a state champion – again |

Barracudas’ Mechling a state champion – again

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Joey Fetzko contributed photo

Charlie Mechling didn’t think she had much of a shot at a state title. Not in the 50-yard breaststroke, anyway.

Then the 12-year-old Sopris Barracuda swimmer logged the event’s top preliminary time. All of a sudden, her chance of taking a gold medal home from last weekend’s 2010 Colorado Long Course State Championships took a turn for the better.

“I thought I had no chance whatsoever,” joked Mechling, who hadn’t been swimming the event regularly during the summer season. “It was kind of surprising when I swam in the prelims.”

When the 11- and 12-year-old girls final rolled around at Grand Junction’s Mesa State College, Mechling surprised herself once again. Touching a fraction of a second ahead of Flatiron’s Catherine Kuhn, she won the sixth state title of her young career.

Mechling finished up in 37.92 seconds, narrowly edging Kuhn’s time of 38.04 seconds.

Kuhn and Mechling frequently cross paths at the state level.

“Oh yeah,” Mechling said. “Whenever we’re in Denver at the state meet. She’s a big breaststroke swimmer.”

Mechling’s state success wasn’t exclusive to the 50 breaststroke.

She touched in second behind none other than Kuhn in the 100 breaststroke finals and took fourth place in both the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, sixth in the 200 backstroke and seventh in both the 400 freestyle and 400 individual medley.

As her state meet results suggest, Mechling takes pride in excelling at multiple strokes.

“I think if you specialize in one stroke, it’s kind of hard,” she said. “I might not always be a breaststroker. When you do everything, it gives you a sense of variety.”

Mechling’s times in the 50 and 100 breaststroke met the qualifying standards for the Aug. 10-14 Western Zones meet, which is a step up from state-level competition. Having just had tooth exposure surgery on Wednesday, the soon-to-be seventh-grader will likely sit out the Western Zones meet, which are taking place in San Jose, Calif.

“It’s this weekend and I still can’t really do a whole lot,” she said.

Though she probably won’t compete in San Jose, Mechling will return to the water soon enough. The Sopris Barracudas will begin practicing for the next swim season in early September.

Mechling wasn’t the Barracudas’ lone representative at state.

Lily Thorsen swam to seventh place in the 13-14 girls 1,500 freestyle.

Jack Cassidy, who competes in the 13-14 boys division, nabbed 13th place in the 1,500 freestyle and 14th in the 200 breaststroke.

Two 12-and-under girls relay teams also recorded high finishes, placing 10th in the 200 freestyle relay and 13th in the 200 medley relay.

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