Team Sopris fares well at long course open |

Team Sopris fares well at long course open

Joey Fetzko Special to the Post IndependentJessica Tuttle won the 13- and 14-year-old girls 200-yard butterfly by nearly 13 seconds, with a time of 2 minutes, 48.13 seconds.

Team Sopris Swimming traveled through rain, sleet and snow this past weekend to compete at the three-day Foothills Swim Team May Long Course Open at Carmody Pool in Lakewood.

The local club swim team, which serves swimmers of all abilities from age 6 and up, competed well against a number of larger Front Range swim teams in the long course format. A long course pool is 50 meters, which is double the length of the Glenwood Springs Community Center pool.

“This was a great meet for us,” Team Sopris head coach Damon Garrison said. “We swam against teams we don’t typically see and raced a different group of kids. It was an opportunity for our swimmers to see where they fit in and gain confidence swimming outside of the Western Slope League. It was a nice sized meet, compared to the hundreds of swimmers we saw at TOPS two weeks ago, where there were over 20 Olympic qualifiers and a lot of college swimmers.”

Team Sopris swimmers fit in just fine against larger teams such as ACES, Foothills Swim Team, Woodmoor Waves and others.

“We had some excellent races,” Garrison said. “We were focused not on our times and swimming faster, but on learning how to swim faster and race smarter. Everyone learned something and progressed at this meet. We only had one [disqualification] and that was a false start, so I’ll take it. It means we’re doing things right.”

Jessica Tuttle won the 13- and 14-year-old 200-yard butterfly with a time that was 16 seconds faster than her best from last long course season. She placed in the top three in most of her events.

Lauren Jean Fetzko overcame some recent difficulties to win the 100 fly in a confidence-boosting race.

“LJ has been working on her confidence with this race over the past few meets,” Garrison said. “I think she has put that behind her now with a very competitive swim where she stayed within herself and swam her own race to win. This might have been a breakthrough race that she can really build on throughout the season.”

Sally McDonnell, a 10-year-old who lives in Eagle but travels to Glenwood to swim with Team Sopris, made her long course debut at the TOPS meet two weeks ago. At this meet, she made tremendous progress with huge time drops in the 100 breaststroke, the 100 freestyle and the 50 free.

Macy Stinson, also 10, raced well with second place, third place and two fourth-place finishes, while dropping time and posting Silver State qualifying times in every event.

Zoe Lyon, 12, continued her progression after swimming well at TOPS and improving in just two weeks.

“Katie Heim was nervous to swim long course for the first time this season, but came through with several solid swims,” Garrison noted in regards to the 14-year-old Team Sopris swimmer.

Garrison was particularly impressed with 14-year-old Hannah Stinson’s performance at the meet.

“Hannah had a huge meet,” he lauded. “She dropped time in all but one event, including a 33-second drop in the 200 IM. She is developing into a strong swimmer and will be a valuable contributor on the Glenwood Springs High School girls swim team next year. I’m really excited about the growth we’re seeing with her.”

Three GSHS Demon girls swim team members made the trip and they all swam well.

“Lily Thorsen made great strides from the TOPS meet and came away with increased confidence. Hannah Grumley’s 100 fly was a really nice swim, a fourth-place finish and a best time. Rebecca Carcaterra and I discussed treating this meet as more of a workshop and she learned a great deal through studying her races,” Garrison continued. “It was great to have our senior girls here at the meet. They’ll be swimming on the high school team next year as seniors with Jessica Tuttle and Hannah Stinson coming in as freshmen and it’s never too soon to start establishing that leadership and building those relationships.”

James McMahon, 13, continued his long course season progression, dropping time in nearly every event from just two weeks ago, where he dropped time across the board.

Zeb Thorsen, 14, also had a solid meet for his first long course meet of the season. Austin Hawkins, 12, was swimming well until suffering a stomach bug Saturday night, but persevered and put up some good swims on Sunday.

Team Sopris hosts its home meet this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. The format is an IMX meet, where swimmers choose to compete in different challenges that feature all four strokes as well as distance events. Awards are given to swimmers with the lowest combined times for all events in their challenge category.

“We have 160 swimmers from seven teams competing this weekend. It should be a great meet and it’s always nice for our swimmers to showcase their talents in their hometown. We always do well at our home meets, I’m excited to see what our swimmers do this weekend,” Garrison noted. “We’ll be missing our three high school boys who are competing at the 4A state championship meet in Thornton this weekend, but we wish them good luck and fast swims.”

Team Sopris is now accepting registration for its summer season. Information, including practice schedules, meet schedules, tryout times and more, can be found on the team’s website at

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