Mechling makes a splash at Midwest meet |

Mechling makes a splash at Midwest meet

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

From bonding with her peers on a 12-hour bus ride to swapping caps with athletes from other states, Charlie Mechling’s trip to Lawrence, Kan., for the Midwest All-Star Age Group Invitational proved to be about much more than swimming.

For Mechling, a 12-year-old member of the Sopris Barracudas club swim team, the trip’s social value resonated as much as anything.

“I think my favorite part was probably the bus ride,” said Mechling, a student at Glenwood Springs Middle School. “Even though it was long, we got to watch a lot of movies and I got to meet even more girls.”

Mechling competed as a member of the 2011 Colorado All-Star Team, a select group of swimmers chosen from clubs throughout the state.

While the competition was fierce, swimmers took plenty of time to enjoy themselves. That included trading swim caps, a popular pastime at the prestigious meet.

“I got an Iowa cap and a Missouri Valley cap,” Mechling said.

In the water, Mechling and her Colorado teammates dominated, winning the six-team meet by more than 500 points.

Although Colorado is known better for its world-class ski resorts, swimming is a big deal in the Rocky Mountains – as evidenced by the team’s showing in Kansas.

“Colorado is definitely a skiing state,” Mechling said. “I don’t think people think Colorado is a swimming state, but Colorado is a huge swimming state.”

Mechling, the only Western Slope swimmer on the team, contributed mightily to the lopsided victory. She took home bronze medals in both the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke, placed sixth in the 200 freestyle, seventh in the 500 freestyle and ninth in the 200 individual medley.

Mechling also helped Colorado’s 200 medley relay team to a second-place finish and its 200 freestyle relay team to a third-place showing.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad showing for Mechling, who was making her second appearance at the Midwest meet. She also made the Colorado team as a 10-year-old.

With five individual top-10 finishes and two top-three relay performances, the second time was a charm for Mechling – on both competitive and social levels.

“I think because I had been there before,” she said. “I felt really comfortable with all the girls. I know everyone on the Front Range better than I did before.”

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