Demon swimmers blaze through Western Slope championships
While snow blanketed the Front Range, it felt like spring had arrived in Grand Junction this past weekend.
There were college students about campus in shorts and a couple hundred young ladies in bathing suits inside Colorado Mesa University’s El Pomar Natatorium for the 2012 Western Slope Swimming and Diving Championships.
Glenwood’s own self-funded lady Demons were among the 11 squads invited to the multi-day meet to duke it out for Western Slope supremacy.
Prelims began with the Demons’ 200-yard medley relay team of Kierra Kalakewich, Hannah Peterson, Hannah Grumley and Ashley Roper claiming the third seed with their best time of the year – 2 minutes, 1.77 seconds.
Glenwood’s B relay of Alida Eide, Rebecca Carcaterra, Jenna Sobke and Mackenzie Fuller claimed 15th place to secure their spot in consolation finals on Saturday.
The 200 freestyle featured juniors Carcaterra, Roper and Lily Thorsen. The threesome swam as though there were no tomorrow. Thorsen lead the way with her first state-qualifying time, nabbing the four spot, while Roper settled in for the seven seed.
Carcaterra, who swam possessed all weekend, dropped four seconds off her previous best time to round out the top eight for finals. Although first-year swimming freshman Sofia Gamba did not qualify to swim on Saturday, she did annihilate her former best time by 10 seconds.
Grumley, a junior captain, cruised in both her prelim swims to qualify fourth in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 butterfly for the next day’s finale.
If you were to blink in the next 28 seconds, you would have missed freshman Peterson and junior Kalakewich’s 50 free performances. Peterson’s 27.17 placed her as the top seed in consolation finals, with Kalakewich in 13th. Eide, a senior, swam a personal-best time, but ended up on the outside looking in for a Saturday swim.
Roper, a junior captain who attends Coal Ridge High School, made her second individual finals of the day in the 100 free. Sophomore Mackenzie Fuller and first-year swimming freshman Mikayla Axtell dropped four seconds and two seconds, respectively, to swim their best times.
Distance specialist Thorsen notched her second state-qualifying time of the day in the 500 free, finishing in 5:39.15 while locking up the third seed.
The junior was right back in the pool to anchor the 200 free relay team comprised of herself, Peterson, Eide and Kalakewich to another finals berth.
Vail Christian’s Kalakewich has been tiptoeing around the 100 back state time all season. It was finally her time. The junior swam a 1:06.78 to nip the state time by two-hundredths of a second and qualify for finals.
Junior Grace Gamba gave her all, with an eight-second wallop of her best time.
The 100 breastroke is typically owned by Montrose on the Western Slope, yet Glenwood’s Peterson and Carcaterra swam best times to crack the finals with four swimmers from Montrose and one each from Gunnison and Durango.
First-year swimmers Elana Neiley and Lexie Montoya went one-two in their heat, with Neiley slicing seven seconds to win the heat by a body length and a half.
The final event of prelims was the 400 free relay. Glenwood once again placed two relays into the following day’s festivities. The lady Demons were as hot as the weather with 14 of 16 swimmers returning to the promised land.
The spring-like weather continued into Saturday’s finals, as did the hot swims.
Glenwood’s foursome of Kalakewich, Peterson, Grumley and Roper continued to excite the Glenwood faithful in a photo finish between Moffat County and 5A Grand Junction for third place. Junction’s Olivia Bobillier managed to out-touch Roper for third place.
The B relay consisting of Eide, Carcaterra, Sobke and Fuller put on a rousing show as well, with Fuller coming from behind to this time out-touch Grand Junction’s B team for 14th place.
Thorsen swam noticeably more relaxed after getting the state-cut monkey off her back in prelims. She took control of the third spot at the halfway point and held on to take the bronze. Roper and Carcaterra both bettered their times from Friday and moved up a spot each to finish sixth and seventh.
Grumley glided through the water to her best time of the season in the 200 individual medley – a 2:22.32 – to receive fourth place in a race in which the top two swimmers went under 2:20.
The speedsters of the meet converged for the 50 free. Half of the B final swam faster than the A final in a race in which mere hundredths of a second separated multiple places.
Glenwood’s Peterson finished in the middle of the scrum in 13th while Kalakewich rounded out the scoring in 16th.
Grumley swam in a fast A final where the top four all made the 5A state cut and the winner broke the minute barrier. The junior once again stood on the podium in the fourth spot.
Roper, looking for another individual state time, swam her best time of the year in the 100 free to come up just a little shy of the cut. With a solid effort, she finished fourth in yet another blazing final, in which the top three were sub-57 seconds, with the winner almost breaking 55 seconds.
The 500 free played out as though it were the 50.
If you turned your head, you missed the top two swimmers go sub-5:23, with the victor hitting 5:17.
Glenwood’s Thorsen hung tough with the Western Slope’s best distance swimmers. She erased two more seconds from her season best and finished in fourth place.
Thorsen was quickly back in the water anchoring the 200 free relay. Thorsen swam a 25.85 split to combine with Peterson, Eide and Kalakewich for an electric fourth place on the podium.
It was now Kalakewich’s turn to hop right back into the pool to compete in the 100 back final. She swam her second-best time of the season to collect sixth.
Carcaterra and Peterson both shaved more time off their best times with Carcaterra missing the state cut by two tenths of a second and the freshman by a second. The teammates finished sixth and seventh.
Glenwood’s B 400 free relay team consisting of Olivia Ayers, Montoya, Grace Gamba and Axtell carved seven additional seconds off their prelim swim to obtain the 12th spot.
The final event of the championship was another throwdown between Junction and the lady Demons. Roper, Carcaterra, Thorsen and Grumley shaved two seconds off their prelim time.
The race came down to Junction’s Marina Silva and Glenwood’s Grumley, who erased a half-body length lead in the final 25 yards to take the bronze in 3:55.53.
Glenwood and Grand Junction traded third position multiple times throughout the meet.
The bigger school ended up getting the best of the lady Demons in the end by 49 points. Montrose walked away with the win, with Durango not far behind.
Glenwood is off to the 4A state championships this weekend in Thornton.
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